Human beings are constantly observing other human beings. We observe the colour and style of their clothes and their shoes; the colour and length of their hair; their eyes; their skin; their body’s shape; their smile; the way they move; the way they speak; the words they use; their kindness or lack of it, and so much more.
Perhaps the most important thing we can observe is their behaviour. Observing behaviour lets us know if we’re safe or in danger; if this is someone we’d like to have as a friend. Behaviour gives us clues about ethnicity, culture, beliefs and the various responses to the stresses of adversity.
We’ve looked at these behaviour categories before, but let’s remind ourselves of them:
Some people are forceful, direct, results-oriented. They just want to know what needs to be done and they’re off to do it.
Some people are optimistic – their glass is half full. They like conversations. They’re often laughing. They care deeply about people.
Some people are steady. They’re dependable, patient and kind. They like to help others.
Some people focus on the details. They’re precise and accurate. They plan their work and work their plan. They like to work unsupervised.
We may fit into more than one of these categories as we adapt to situations we’re facing, but what if we try to understand more about the categories we don’t fit into?
What if we have one of those glass-half-full friends who just about drives us crazy when they interject light-heartedness into a conversation we’re trying to have with them about a serious topic? What if we’re focussed on the details and they just don’t seem to be? What if this situation frustrates us?
Would it help our relationship to take a step out of our comfort zone and consider how a light-hearted approach to the topic might reveal information we haven’t thought of, information that might bring about a better result?
We often judge others based on what we observe. If we judge that they don’t do things the way we do, we may convince ourselves that it’s okay not to like them. This is wrong. The Bible says we’re not supposed to judge others at all!
We are made in God’s image. He chooses to create us to be different. Rejecting someone whose character traits are different from our own puts us on shaky ground.
And what about our behaviour? Do our character traits encourage others or tear them down? What can we learn from the teachings of Jesus?
Jesus calls us to love one another as He loves us: with joy and peace; patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness; with gentleness and self-control. What if we change our behaviour so that we increase our ability to love others?
Every day, we need to ask ourselves: Is there someone I had the opportunity to love today, but I turned away from doing it? If the answer is yes, ask God to forgive you, and make it right tomorrow.