“It’s not fair! They’re getting more than we are.”
“Things are tough enough as it is. How come they’re being favored?”
“What’s the difference between us? Only our language!”
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
—Proverbs 11:25 NIV
Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple.
—Scott Adams (b. 1957)
I have spent the past several years caring for loved ones. I helped care for friends who had serious illnesses, and I became a full-time caregiver for my mother until she passed away from terminal cancer in 2009.
I love to hear about heroes, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. Ever since an unknown Mesopotamian author thought up Gilgamesh’s quests, or Homer sang of Achilles’ war exploits and Ulysses’ odyssey to get home, people have been inspired and thrilled by the adventures, bravery, and wisdom of great champions. Others, such as composers, writers, philosophers, and so on, may have lived less adventurous lives, but their accomplishments set them apart as well.
Victor was a carabinero, or police officer, stationed at the remote Chilean customs compound known as Los Libertadores, high in the Andes on the border with Argentina. Since Victor had received special training in mountain rescue work, he was usually assigned to dangerous areas like this one. He enjoyed the mountains, but missed his family.
You may not feel great or as if you have hero-like qualities of your own; even the apostle Paul lamented, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”1 Yet God can make more of us than we are, if we avail ourselves of the help of His Son, Jesus. “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”2
Right after graduating from high school, two friends and I decided to travel around the western Mediterranean. It was 1969, and the streets of Europe were filled with young people roaming and searching for meaning in their lives. We took a train to Naples in southern Italy, then an overnight ferry to Tunis. Next, we traveled along the North African coast, hitching rides with local trucks and cars.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.—2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT
One of the challenging aspects of Christian life is the fact that becoming a follower of Jesus does not make us immune to life’s trials and tribulations. We know that God is love,1 yet even those who have faith in Him still suffer disease, injury, financial hardships, worry, fear, and death just like everyone else. Jesus didn’t sugarcoat the truth, but He did offer hope when He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”2
The Bible is a rich storehouse of spiritual and practical advice, and examples of strong relationships are one of the recurrent themes. In fact, Martin Luther commented that the entire Christian life consists of relating to people around us.1
So what can we learn from the Bible about how to succeed with people?