Defining moments happen all throughout our lives. In my life there are many points that I remember and know made a huge difference in my life. There was something that happened, there was a person you met or a conversation you had that drew a line in your life. It might have brought change. It could even be a memory that won’t leave you alone.
Not long after I graduated from high school I moved to Bible college in Dallas, Texas and began to serve at a local church. I went with some of the church leaders to a pastor’s conference where I heard some messages that shaped my life and thinking. They were powerful messages from some of the most respected preachers of that day (this happened in the fall of 1990).
One preacher talked about relationships, and the message that he shared continues to role through my mind. It has shaped how I deal with my wife, how I deal with people close to me as well as how I deal with the difficult people in my life. Here is a passage of Scripture that a particular preacher, Charles Lowery, spoke on that day:
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. 10 For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. 11 Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. 12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”
Here are some many thoughts from this passage that we need to apply to our lives, and God continues to remind me of that sermon I heard when I was 20 years old. Here are some of the major points that have stuck with me:
1. UNITY MATTERS. Work at it with the people closest to you and other relationships will experience unity as well.
2. LOVE ALWAYS. In the way we deal with others we are to love. But if we don’t love ourselves and believe God loves us, we can’t love others. Someone who is tender and humble characterizes love.
3. DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THE RETALIATION TRAP. Give kindness when handed a hard time. Offer love when you are given hatred. Be the bigger person or take the higher road.
4. WORDS ARE IMPORTANT. Speak truth. Stay away from compromise, half-truths and out right lies. You don’t have to defend the truth.
5. GOD BLESSES RIGHT ACTIONS. This is where we will have peace and strength, answered prayer and great blessings. Evil will be pushed aside. Righteousness will be lifted.
May God teach us to value the people around and deal with the people around us as Jesus would. The best way to know how Jesus would respond is to know Jesus’ book. It has and continues to change my life. My prayer is that my life will lead others to see God and know Him well.
How we deal with the people around us will make a big difference in many, many lives.