Life is a series of judgment calls, big and small. “Is my colleague telling me the truth?” “Can I believe this advertiser’s claims?” Nearly every day you have to pass judgment on some situation, and your opinions and decisions often have consequences for the other people involved. The stakes may not be as high or the judgment as final, but like a magistrate in the judicial system, your judgment matters.
I once told My critics, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”1 What is righteous judgment? It is judging fairly and honestly, applying the right rule to that particular situation and sometimes looking beyond the facts to see the hearts and true intentions of those involved.
If you try to make your circle closed and exclusively yours, it never grows very much. Only a circle that has lots of room for anybody who needs it has enough spare space to hold any real magic.
—Zilpha Keatley Snyder (b. 1927), American children’s writer
If you approach each new person you meet in a spirit of adventure, you will find yourself endlessly fascinated by the new channels of thought and experience and personality that you encounter.
—Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962), wife of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt
I once told My followers, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”1 So many problems would be solved if people would live by that simple rule. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is the smart thing to do. When you do it—even when it’s to your own hurt at first—it eventually comes back to you in the form of more love and other good things in your own life. When you build your life and character on treating people the way you want to be treated, it’s inevitable that they will return the favor by treating you with respect and kindness. But it starts with you.
We could all stand to improve in our relations with others,and the Bible has lots of helpful counsel for us on that subject—how to work with others, how to treat them, and so on. It talks about patience, longsuffering, unselfishness, and giving. But it goes on to say that love is the most important thing. “The greatest of these is love.”1 Love is the most important ingredient in our relations with others.
I was submitting some legal paperwork,and to my dismay there were several discrepancies in my documents. Something that at first appeared easy to rectify instead took several weeks and numerous appointments to sort out.
At one of the offices where I had been sent, I came face to face with Olga. She struck me as efficient, but rather curt. We got off to a rough start. Mine was probably the hundredth problem she had had to deal with that day, and it seemed I would get no sympathy from her. To make matters worse, her computer froze and she had to reboot. She muttered that she was going to take an aspirin and would be back in a minute.
Look for the good in others.
Philippians 4:8: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Titus 3:2: To speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
One quality that good leaders seem to have in common is the ability to bring out the best in others. Whether they are bosses, managers, team captains, or role models, inevitably they have learned to not think in terms of problems, but rather in terms of people and their potential.
When those leaders see others doing something wrong or working inefficiently, rather than fuming or stepping in to do the job themselves, they challenge those people to keep trying until they get it right, and then praise them when they do.
I listened to a song demo today. I’d heard plenty of them before, but this one sounded unusually rough. I tried not to let on that it grated on my nerves. My friend had warned me that it was a demo before he pressed the play button, but I still wasn’t quite prepared. I hoped he hadn’t noticed me cringe or squirm in my chair.
After about a minute of private anguish, Jesus managed to get through to me.
A popular song that made a big impression on me as a teenager seemed to be a prayer. I say “seemed” because the song didn’t mention God or prayer. It also didn’t sound like any religious music I’d ever heard. The lyrics were deceptively simple—big truths about character and success in life expressed humbly and winsomely. I wanted to be like that, I remember thinking. It was the best sermon I’d ever heard.
Try love, humility, prayer, and communication.
1 Corinthians 13:4–8a: Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never fails.