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.
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.
Question: My boyfriend and I normally get along great, but sometimes one of us becomes frustrated when the other one reacts differently than we expect or would like. How can we avoid those situations that put a strain on our relationship?
Answer: You’re not the first to encounter this problem. In My Fair Lady, the musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, Professor Henry Higgins raises the question, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” That just about sums it up—from both sides. Men think women ought to respond to things like men, and women wish that men thought and responded the way women do. That’s not going to happen, of course, but God does have a solution, as always.