We have to approach relationships and getting along with people differently then having the attitude of “what can I get out of this.” We have to put our big boy and girl pants on as adults and be mature when getting along with others. It is easy to decline and fall back into our old nature habits of only thinking of ourselves, but once you have conquered something, once you have grown and matured naturally, we are responsible for our behavior. Actually we are responsible for our behavior all the time.
It doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or not; people hurt people. We all have hurt someone in our life. No exceptions. Often it comes when we don’t get our own way or we feel rejected. Looking at the United States Government and how the Democrats and Republicans seem to not get along, in essence they haven’t learned how to “Play nice” with others. Playing nice means that you don’t always get what you want. It means thinking of the other person’s needs beyond your own. This is hard for us, especially when what the other person thinks or wants is contrary to what you want or even believe is right.
So what do we do?
Matthew 7:12 Message
“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.”
How would you like to be treated? If you were the other person receiving your behavior how would you react? One thing is for certain we should never behave badly because someone else behaves badly. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Learn to maintain good behavior in spite of your coworker’s or your family’s actions. Take the higher road. Negotiations can never happen if rather party is unwilling to budge from their opinions or viewpoints. Compromise is not a bad thing when it comes to working out differences. Compromise is an extremely bad thing if it means compromising the Word of God and your morals. We all should be people of integrity. But there is still room for working things out even when we are standing up for what we believe. Fighting doesn’t get us anywhere.
1. Understand that everybody is different.
More fights are had all because we are expecting people to be just like us. Don’t expect people to be like you. God has made us all different for a reason. He even works out circumstances so that we are with people that rub us the wrong way all to build our character. We might not like it. We might actually hate it, but what are you going to do? I have learned to say to myself, “It’s okay, that is how they are and I can’t change them.” I remind myself (if the person is a Christian) that the same Holy Spirit who works on my heart and character is working on their heart and character too.
Do you have multiple children, with different personalities, and wonder how they all came from the same place? How many of you have kids you get along with better then some of the other kids you have? How many have a child you love but don’t get along with them very well? Is the one you don’t get along with a lot like you? Usually that is the case. This makes my point of how would you respond if you were the one receiving your own behavior?
When you have a strong personality and you have a strong-willed child the war is on! Give them something to be in charge of that you are okay with. Then, don’t meddle in their business. If they fail at what they are in charge of it will be a learning experience for them. If they succeed, which is what we hope for, then it will help build their character of being responsible.
God gives us all a temperament and they are all different. We can look at all the personalities of the Disciples. Peter and John were so different. Peter was like a fireball who couldn’t keep his mouth shut for two seconds, and John just hung out with Jesus. He even referred to himself, in the book that he wrote, “I am the disciple whom Jesus loves.” I am sure that grated on Peter. Remember when Jesus was teaching on forgiveness it was Peter who said, “How many times am I to forgive someone for the same thing?” These guys were people just like us. They got offended at each other. They were constantly dealing with that stuff.
Jesus had opportunity to be offended. Jesus came to do a job, He was anointed to do that job, He had to maintain that anointing on His life. Let me tell you He needed an anointing to go to the cross. He needed the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to get through Gethsemane. We have to have the power of the Holy Spirit to get through these things.
What would have happened if Jesus would have gotten offended at John the Baptist when he began to doubt rather He was the One.” What if Jesus hid that offense in his heart and dwelt on it? What if He got offended a the religious leaders because they were always giving Him trouble and Jesus didn’t let it go but dwelt on it? What if He got offended at His own family because His brothers thought He was stock raving mad? Even though Jesus kept on trying to do what God called Him to do He was carrying heavy weights and bondages because of the un-forgiveness in His heart. You know what? We wouldn’t be here today! You wouldn’t be having this message today. We wouldn’t have believers today because He could not have finished what God had called Him to do. He was tempted every time He turned around to take offense but He didn’t.
I hope you are seeing something here! I have to work constantly to keep offense out of my heart. Deal with it violently. Don’t think that I am any different then you. I can be going through my day or even praying and a thought goes through my mind about what someone said or did towards me and start to think, “Well, I can’t believe they said that!” or “I can’t believe they did that to me!” We all have to be aggressive in dealing with being offended. This is learning how to play nice.
The devil is the devil in everybody’s life. He is not easier on one person compared to another. Sometimes I have to say out loud, “No! I am not going to dwell on that junk.” “I refuse to dig up that stinking garbage any longer.” Often I Pray, “God help me!” You know why? Because I don’t belong to myself. Neither do you. we don’t have the privilege of acting like an ordinary person. Paul told the Corinthian church, “You are carnal, fleshly babies because you are acting like mere unchanged men.
1 Cor. 3:1 – 3 Amplified Bible
“However, brethren, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to nonspiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet!] I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it], For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men?”
Let me say it again, “We don’t have the fleshly privilege of acting like everybody else.” The whole rest of the world can get mad and stay mad, but we don’t get to stay mad! We get mad, but we don’t get to stay mad. We have to let it go, drop it and leave it and not be stumbling over that stumbling block all the time.
I am determined to finish what God has called me to do. And you need to be determined to do what God has asked you to do! Whatever that is you need to be determined to finish it. If it is nothing more then serving the Lord with gladness then be determined to do that! Everybody is not like us and we need to understand and look at a person and say. “you have just as much right as I do to think like you do. We don’t have to answer for anyone else, we only have to answer for ourselves.
Life would be pretty boring if we were all alike. Just think about making a pizza with just the crust? Adding more ingredients makes the pizza a pizza. Sauce, cheese, pepperoni, olives, … etc. We need to learn to appreciate the differences in people. Appreciate the value they are to us stop thinking about how different they are. Amen!
Stop trying to be somebody else and just be fully and completely you and let everybody else be who they are!
2. Be humble.
No one likes an arrogant person. Don’t over or underestimate yourself.
Romans 12:3 Amp
“For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.”
Learn how to say I am not always right. Learn how to say, “Yes its ok if we do that, I don’t have to get my way all the time!” Always wanting your way is childish. That is how we were when we were toddlers. They don’t understand sharing or thinking about the other person. But we are adults and we know better. Only a dictator gets their way all the time. Don’t be a dictator. A dictator is someone who has complete power and no one can trump it. Usually a dictator is oppressive and demands their own way. They have unrestricted power and control. This is NOT the case with any Bible believing Christian. We are all subject to God and His authority.
Being around a person who is a leader and they act like a dictator is oppressive bondage. “My way or the highway!” Does this describe you? We should have freedom our creative selves. Are you a dictator in your house? In your work? With other Christians? We need to learn to be humble and realize we don’t have all the answers. Remember in marriage that you and your spouse are a team. Each have important things to bring into the marriage. Love will be patient and kind and not self-seeking. What have you contributed to your relationships lately?
James 4:10 KJV
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
If you are being oppressed don’t try and seek revenge or feel it will be like that the rest of your life. God sees. He will lift you up. He will bring deliverance. God is your vindicator. He fights for injustice. He is fighting for you so you don’t need to fight but just to remain stable and keep your ground.
Exodus 14:14 NKJV
“The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
God will fight for you so stop fighting for yourself. Learn to play nice with others and know that God keeps the books.
3. Give criticism sparingly.
People don’t respond well to criticism but they respond well and are motivated by encouragement. You can have a student who has one teacher that gives encouragement and one teacher who criticizes. Inevitably the student who has the subject with the encouraging teacher will have a higher grade then the subject with the teacher who criticizes their work. It is the same in our families and any relationship we may have; encouragement goes a long way.
Are you a nosey ninny? Sometimes we just need to mind our own business! Here are a few quotes about minding your own business:
-The hardest part of business is minding your own.
-The biggest fool is one who minds the business of others rather than minding his very own.
-Hey, I found your nose, it was in my business again.
-Everyone else notices everyone else’s problems but never pay attention to their own.
-Facebook; Letting you put your nose in other people’s business since 2004.
You have enough to deal with in your life, it is not your job to know it all or fix others. If you see something wrong in someone else’s life, pray that God shows that other person. The Holy Spirit can do a far better job then you can. There will be times we have the means to help somebody, then do it!
There are times we need to give criticism, but not at the expense of destroying someone.
Criticism means: “the act of expressing disapproval and of noting the problems or faults of a person or thing : the act of criticizing someone or something: a remark or comment that expresses disapproval of someone or something (merriam-webster.com).”
This causes fights. People won’t respond well to judgement.
Matthew 7:1 – 5 NKJV
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Powerful words. Here is a down to earth rendition of those verses:
Matthew 7:1 – 5 Message
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.”
We can criticize or judge someone inwardly. Even though we didn’t share our critical thoughts to them we still have committed a sin because Jesus said if you even look at a person and lust for them you have committed the act in your heart.
We respond outwardly to how we think about others. If you think someone is doing something wrong, but you don’t tell them, your actions will reflect what you are thinking. You will probably treat them as if they were “less then.” You may even snub your nose at them. You could think, “I would never do that!” and your actions could be one of arrogance or indifference.
We all have faults. You do too if you would be truthful with yourself. If you are a person who is constantly being critical of others you will live a lonely miserable life. Criticizing doesn’t do anything good for anybody, including you. Learn to be easy going! Learn to accept the differences, or even the faults of others. Nobody is perfect. Give some people some slack: mercy and grace, even if they don’t acknowledge the wrongs they may have done to you.
4. Talk less and listen more.
Are you a person who likes to tell people what you think? Maybe you always have to tell something about yourself when others are talking. Many fights have started all because someone talked over another and didn’t really hear what the other person said. I know because it has happened in my life.
We could avoid undue stress and broken relationships if we would just talk less and listen more. Have you ever been around someone who talks so much you can never get a word in edge wise? It is pretty frustrating to say the least. When this happens voices are usually raised so the other person is heard. This can create an atmosphere of stress, or even worse, one can walk away from it thinking less valued.
Learn how to be quiet until the other person is finished talking. Even if you are afraid you will forget what you want to say or contribute into the conversation, just note what you want to say in your mind and turn your listening ears on.
People want to know you care. They don’t necessarily want a sermon or a lecture. If someone is going through a hard time, and they haven’t asked for your advice, don’t give it unless you ask them. We can say things like, “Would you like to know my advise?” or “Do you want to know what I think?”
Proverbs 10:19 NKJV
“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”
We can sin just by talking too much. In other words if you babble on and on about you, your life, people, things that happened to you, chances are you will gossip and criticize others in the process. Talking less gives your tongue a rest and your ears a chance to function! LOL
Proverbs 17:28 Amplified Bible
“Even a fool when he holds his peace is considered wise; when he closes his lips he is esteemed a man of understanding.”
Holding our tongue, even when what we want to say is right, can keep the peace in a relationship. Sometimes it is just enough to know you are right. Other people don’t need to know that. Being a “know-it-all” is annoying to others and it is not playing nicely.
Often when we talk we don’t think about what we are saying. We should think about how it will come across to the listener. Our tone of our voice and our actions actually speak louder then words. We can tell someone that we love them, but if the tone of our voice is anger or if our actions suggest that we don’t value the other person, chances are you really don’t love that person. They will walk away feeling undervalued.
I like to learn how to watch people’s body language. It intrigues me to find out if someone is lying or not. There is a technique. There are many books out there too. Police and Law enforcement’s study people and can tell if someone is telling the truth. Most of the time if you talk less and listen more you can decipher things about the other person’s character. Not to criticize them but to understand them.
James 1:19 Amplified Bible
“Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.”
Be quick to listen. Be determined to find out more about the other person instead of the person knowing way more about you. We have two ears and one mouth. This should remind us that we should think twice as much as we speak!
Proverbs 8:2 ESV
“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”
Psalm 141:3 ESV
“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”
This should be our prayer. It will help in all areas of our life. I don’t want anything coming out of my mouth that is not pleasing to God. We can lose relationships just by what comes out of our mouth. Guard your mouth. Always think before you speak. Will the listener be okay with the words I say to them? This will help us to play nicely with others.
5. Display true love.
1 Cor. 13:4 – 7 Message
“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”
Often we think we need someone to love us but in essence we need somebody to love. The Bible says love is the most excellent thing we can do.
We are not called to “in-reach” we are called to “outreach!” Live to make somebody else happy.
1 Cor. 12:31 Amplified Bible
“But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all–love].”
Loving people is a more excellent way. Choose to love instead of hate. Choose to look at the good and not the bad in people. You will always find bad, some people have more of it then others. Most of the time when someone is acting up it is because they have unresolved issues in their life. People are not our enemy though.
Matthew 5:44 Amplified Bible
“But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you to show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike]. For if you love those who love you, what reward can you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? And if you greet only your brethren, what more than others are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles (the heathen) do that?”
God wants us to do good to people who haven’t done any good for us because that is the best spiritual warfare to keep the devil under your feet. It breaks any stronghold the enemy is trying to put on you.
Love is the highest form of spiritual warfare. If we think we are doing something smart and stay mad at somebody and get revenge on them, it is the absolutely worse thing we could do for ourselves. Its all based on feelings. I feel, I feel, I feel! Feelings come and go but God’s word remains; we are to love one another as He loves us.
One of the main reasons people don’t walk in love is because love is an effort. Now get this: love will always cost you something. Its gonna cost some time, some effort, even to not start a fight in your home. It will cost you some pride. Be willing to swallow your pride to let someone else think they are right. Even though you are sure your right a fight and we have to guard our peace.
Its not that you become a doormat or let everybody walk all over you and push you around. You confront when God shows you to confront and you wait God tells you to wait.
Most of the time when God wants me to confront I want to leave it alone and when I want to confront He is telling me to leave it alone. When somebody has hurt us one of the hardest things in the world is to wait and let God bring our vindication. We want to take it for ourselves don’t we?
If you are waiting for the other person to do whats right, I have an announcement to make; You maybe waiting a long time. You are the one hearing this message so guess what? You get to start first! And not only that, if you’re the Christian in your house, then you ought to be the one to start first. You can’t expect the people who don’t know the Word to do anything right because they don’t even know what right is. So we have to do it as an example.
No matter how others act you stay the same. Don’t allow their behavior to dictate yours. Jesus didn’t change with the circumstances and act up with the people who were acting up. He remained the same. We can do this too by the grace of God. Love because we are commanded too. Love because it is being like Christ.
In order to get along with people in these last days we are living in it is imperative that we:
Play Nice (Review)
1. Understand that everybody is different.
2. Be humble.
3. Give criticism sparingly.
4. Talk less and listen more.
5. Display true love.
This is how we play nicely with others. It is not rocket science, just plan and simple stuff. Be a person who lets go of selfishness and clings to kindness and love. Your world will be a much better place and you will keep your peace in any relationship you may have.
From one playground dweller to another,
Pastor Kris Belfils