Understanding Others

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People come from so many diverse backgrounds and experiences. How can we even start to relate to them?

Dear Sister,

In this letter, I would like to share with you a few thoughts on how to better understand others.

People come from so many diverse backgrounds and experiences. Their looks, lifestyles, customs, ways of thinking and values may be so different from ours. Yet as believers, we are supposed to accept, help and love them as Jesus would. And especially when they are born again, we are one with them in the Body of Christ—for eternity.

How can we even start to relate to them? Listen to them carefully, so you will get to know what’s in their hearts. Learn about them without judging them and love them in spite of their differences.

Actually, Jesus made understanding people very simple. He gave us two rules to follow:

1. “However you want people to treat you, so treat them” (Matthew 7:12).

2. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).

These verses mean that:

I am created very similar to others, even if I look different, speak another language and come from a different background and educational level.

What I feel, desire and value, they also feel, desire and value.

What hurts me hurts them too, and what makes me glad makes them glad also.

Look at yourself and think about what hurts you:

When my leader, teammates, school friends and church members prefer others and ignore me.

When they laugh at me because I am skinny, fat or have a disability.

When they make fun of me and publicly put me down.

When they don’t take me seriously because I am less educated than they are.

When they gossip about me or talk behind my back.

When they take advantage of my willingness to work hard.

When they exclude me from their fun times.

When they always give me the dirtiest jobs because I am from a lower class of society.

When they never thank me for anything I do.

When they remind me often about the mistakes I made in the past.

When they never say anything appreciative after I do something well.

When they take credit for my hard work or good ideas.

When they give gifts to each other, but never to me.

When they criticize me constantly and tell me that I will surely fail.

When they ignore my efforts to learn a new skill.

When they never mention my name when my team receives recognition for a job well done.

When they never ask for my opinion or suggestion on a matter.

Jesus says: Don’t do these things to others—they feel just like you would! It hurts them deeply, hinders them from succeeding and destroys them.

Look at yourself and think how you wish others would treat you:

I wish they would listen to me when I say or share something.

I wish they would value my opinion, suggestions and ideas.

I wish they would take me seriously.

I wish they would give me an opportunity to do something significant.

I wish they would encourage me when I am struggling.

I wish they would keep the promises they made to me.

I wish they would talk positively about me to my leaders.

I wish they would acknowledge the good work I did.

I wish they would have patience with me while I learn a new skill.

I wish they would love and accept me for who I am.

I wish they would appreciate my work and tell me so.

I wish they would build up my confidence by telling me that I will succeed.

I wish they would assist me when I need help with a task.

Jesus says: Do these things to others—they feel just like you would! It lifts them up, gives them courage, helps them succeed and enables them to reach their potential.

My dear sister, I hope these thoughts will help you to understand and love others just as Jesus commanded us.

May the Lord bless you and keep you walking close to Himself.

In Jesus,

Gisela



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