Wise People Consider Other People's Feelings
“The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17 NIV)
Two of the biggest mistakes we make in relationships are when we react to what people say and not how they feel — or when we invalidate someone else’s feelings because we don’t feel that way ourselves.
Do you know what the antidote is for both of these? Simply being considerate.
Mistake #1: We react without trying to understand. We pay too much attention to someone’s words and not enough attention to the emotions behind the words. People say stuff when they’re angry that they don’t even mean. They use words they don’t even intend to use. They exaggerate things. But you need to look behind the words at the emotion because people don’t always say what they mean, but they always feel what they feel.
So if you’re wise in a relationship, you stop focusing on what your kids or your boyfriend or your husband or your wife or your boss says that just ticks you off, and you start being considerate. That simply means you are mindful of the feelings of others. Unkind people are those who need your kindness the most. When people are rude and unkind, they are screaming to the world, “I’m in pain!” Hurt people always hurt people.
Mistake #2: We invalidate any feelings that we don’t feel ourselves.
This is when you believe something is dumb or irrational or illogical because it’s not what you feel, and you dismiss it. Let me ask you this, can one person be cold and another be warm at the same time? Yes. So why try to argue people out of what they feel?
When we invalidate someone else’s feelings because we don’t feel it, we minimize the other person. Guys, if your girlfriend or your wife says to you, “I feel ugly,” don’t dismiss it and say, “You’re not ugly!” That doesn’t help at all. What you need to do is say, “Why would you feel that? What would make you say that?” because you need to look beyond the words and get to the real issue.
Feelings are neither right nor wrong. They’re just there. She shouldn’t have to defend her feelings. She just needs you to say, “I hear you.” And the same is true for anyone, male or female.
The Bible says, “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17 NIV).
With Heaven’s wisdom, you’ll stop minimizing other people’s feelings. You will let her feel tired when she’s tired and not try to talk her out of it. You will let him feel depressed when he’s depressed and not try to talk him out of it. Wise people are considerate of other people’s feelings.
Talk About It
- What effect do you see in people when you show kindness to them when they are hurting?
- What habits do you need to change or adopt to become more considerate of people’s feelings and not just their words?
How important is listening when it comes to understanding people’s feelings?
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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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