Today you are invited to shift your attitude towards people who trigger you. Rather than giving power to the behavior of people around you to toss you into negative emotions and actions, see and believe the best in others and watch what happens.
Do you see the best in others? How often do you see people for who they desire to be rather than how their behavior shows up?
“Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.” 1 Peter 2:12
“But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior” 1 Peter 1:15
In our last blog we explored Jesus’ requirement for following Him: denying ourselves, lose sight of, forget oneself and our own interests. Why is this important? Because Jesus knows that the root of all unhappiness stems from selfishness. Joy returns each time we forget about ourselves, seek God and love others.
We continue this focus of thinking less of ourselves and more of others which involves the second phase of Emotional Intelligence in Christ: Self-Control. The flesh gets triggered very easily into envy and jealousy. Its identity is fueled by insecurity which results in judgement of others and defensive, reactive behaviors. Keep watch, for where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice (James 3:16). Many teams within organizations have been hijacked into this self-centered zone resulting division and strife.
Because the brain is wired to protect us, anytime we allow for random thinking about circumstances it will naturally tune into potential threats (primal brain). Making assumptions and conclusions around why people are doing what they are doing flows from the “bottom up” thinking (primal brain). Perhaps this is why Paul suggests that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:1-2) and taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
As God would have it, empathy comes from the pre-frontal cortex as does self-control, in terms of the location in the brain. Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of another person. The fruit of the Spirit: kindness and compassion are linked to empathy. Self-control is the last fruit of the Spirit which ignites the other fruits to life in our behaviors. Without self-control our ability to believe the best in others, to see things from a place of generous assumptions and love is impossible because our flesh overrides our efforts.
God calls us to love one another as He loves us…WHAT? Yes, and that is a job for Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit (self-control) within us. God loves us when we are irritable, cranky and rude. Whatever God calls us to, He is faithful and will give us the ability to do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24). Ask for the fruit of kindness, compassion and self-control (ability to control and manage your impulses) before you run into a human being at the beginning of the day and throughout the day and watch what happens.
I recently heard that if you believe the best in others, it gives God the opportunity to work on that person’s heart. Pray for those who trigger you. We can’t expect God to change someone’s heart if we are not being accountable to God in our own response to others. When we do things God’s way with the fruit of the Holy Spirit in and through us, that’s what opens the door for God to transform them. See people the way you want to be seen. Sometimes you’re cranky, hungry, angry, lonely, tired or sick. The next time you run into a cranky or frustrated human being pause and pray: Dear Lord, help me to see the best in this person. To see them as You see them: for who they DESIRE to be rather than how their behavior shows up.
Be kind because God calls you to be kind, not because people are kind to you.