After reading any of today’s newspapers is it little wonder why many are skeptical about meeting new people. No doubt Jesus could have given in to the temptation to doubt people’s motives. Yet, He maintained an upbeat attitude toward every person He met. Jesus looked at people’s potential because He knew they were all made in the image of His heavenly Father. Christ’s love helped Him look for the best quality in people, regardless of their background. Discover how Christ’s mindset will improve your relationships by choosing to look for the good in every person, every cause or every organization.
1. Jesus knew how to focus on people’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. The Lord was a master at human psychology. He knew that people are much more open to someone who sees their assets than their deficiencies. When Jesus first saw Nathanael approaching He said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false." (John 1:47) The Lord knew how to begin any relationship with a positive impression that would remain a firm foundation for a lifetime.
2. Jesus saw in people what they could become instead of what they were not. Jesus said to the woman at the well, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."(John 4:10) The Lord wanted everyone to reach maximum potential. He longed for people to be filled with the fullness of His power, wisdom and truth.
3. Jesus presumed that every person wanted real answers to their questions. After the disciples participated in the feeding of the 5,000 they asked Jesus, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:28,29) The Lord knew that the disciples really wanted a straight answer that could guide them in their planning, attitudes and actions. Jesus taught the disciples that by growing in their faith through obedience, they really would please God. This response might have surprised those who were looking for another list of ten commandments. Yet, Jesus knew that life’s most difficult tasks involve a working out of our spiritual love and commitment.
4. Jesus refused to harbor any grudges. The Lord taught that people are poisoned by their own resentments, biases and hostilities. For this reason when Peter asked Jesus, "How many times should I forgive my brother – up to seven times?" Jesus said, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven." (In other words so many times one cannot even remember) (Matt. 18:21,22) Ask the Lord for a supernatural help to forgive members of your family, close friends, or even those you are working with. Unless we give our grievances over to the Lord they can act as a wedge between people and do considerable damage.
5. Jesus knew that some people will continue to harbor grudges against us, but we must still try to be reconciled with them. Jesus said, "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you…. If he will not listen, take one or two others along… if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as a you would a pagan or a tax collector." (Matt 18:15-17) As long as we are willing to fulfill our responsibility of initiating reconciliation with an offender or an offended friend, we are exonerated from all faults.
6. Jesus gave generous compliments to people as a way of building up their self-esteem. Jesus said, "Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist." (Matt. 11:11) The Lord wanted everyone to admire John the Baptist for his faith, courage and singularly minded commitment to preparing a way for Christ’s ministry. By publicly expressing commendation, affirmation and approval for others we are following in the steps of our Lord.
7. Jesus stood up for the disciples when they were being wrongly accused. One day the Pharisees came to Jesus and said, "Look, Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath. (picking some heads of grain and eating them) Jesus said, "Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread – which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests….I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." (Matt. 12:1-8) The Lord had a firm but kind way of asserting His rights and the privileges bestowed on those who were His companions in the ministry.