Mark Affleck

Why Can’t You FIGURE OUT People?

September 21, 2021
Spiritual Growth

Have you ever tried to FIGURE OUT the people bobbing in and out of your life? Of course. All of us spend considerable time trying to understand the parade of people we encounter. And while we’re working on that impossible task, we try to present ourselves in a certain light so people in our midst can FIGURE US OUT.
It’s one big dance with a lot of bad dancing as everyone tries—unsuccessfully, of course—to figure out those attending the affair. Just think how much energy and time we spend trying to figure people out. And the cost is more than the sum of our wasted energy and time. The more we expend, the harder it is to experience God’s joy and his unforced rhythms of grace.
I spent far too many years dancing this dance (and I hate dances, BTW). But as I started to spend more time with God, he showed me how to interpret the actions and motives of others. Along the way I gained insight on how God would have me “figure people out.”  

HOW? Through God’s LOVE LENS.
Here’s the anchor in God’s Word from the Apostle Paul:
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7
Paul tells us right there how to assume the best about others—no matter the situation or circumstances.
God’s LOVE “bears and believes.” It bears our sins and cynicism and selfishness. And so much more.
As we become increasingly secure in God’s LOVE for us, we can go beyond “putting up” with people and start loving them as God loves us.  
But that’s just the starting point. Paul takes us to a place most believers would rather avoid—making the people around us “look good” by loving them at their worst.
The Westminster Catechism asks Christians to love their neighbors by “covering their infirmities.”
That’s the BEARING part of God’s instruction. Next, we need to BELIEVE the best about others. Doing that only comes when we STOP thinking the BEST about us and the WORST about others.
It’s a matter of seeing others as God sees them—and us. As humans struggling to surrender and obey in our commitment to follow Christ.
I ask God to tamp down my selfishness when others are up, and I am down. To help me hope for the best in the lives of other people.  
Whom do you struggle to believe the best of?

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