How to See People in a Better Light

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SUMMARY

Traffic jams, long lines at the grocery store, and challenging workdays often leave us feeling frustrated and angry. But situations like these are exactly when we need to rethink our assumptions about people and what’s going on around us.

I know, it’s not easy! I’ve always had a problem with road rage for example. When someone does something to us that’s wrong, when they cut us off on the highway or cut in line at Starbucks—we assume that they’re doing it on purpose. Who are all of these stupid, selfish people anyway?

Well, I was recently in traffic when someone cut me off and predictably, I went into my default revenge fantasy mode. Of course I didn’t act on it, but when I got home, I started reading the Bible and stumbled across Matthew 9:36:

“When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.”

When Jesus saw the crowds with all their challenges, with all their shortcomings, with all their anger and their foibles, he looked out on the crowd and he felt compassion.

That’s the message for today. Disappointments and frustrations will happen, but you don’t have to feel anger and misery all day. Instead of seeing everybody else as getting in your way, we should put on a different lens and pour out kindness and generosity on them, as ambassadors for Christ.

Let’s see people in a different light and shed the mindset of self. That guy that cut you off, he didn’t do that on purpose, he just lost his job. That woman who just screamed at her child at the supermarket, she is sleep-deprived from days of taking care of her sick father. When you see him or her, have compassion for them, “like sheep without a shepherd.”

You have the choice. It won’t be easy. It takes mental effort, but it is within your power to exude love and compassion for people. All it takes is a mindset change.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he saw them with compassion.

Here is your challenge:

Look for one opportunity today to offer someone compassion and love and engage in them, and lean toward them, even though they’re angry or they offend us. Expect—and this is important—expect nothing in return.

Let’s all pour out generosity and compassion, giving honestly and openly so we can walk away knowing that God has used us and we’ve had an impact on the world.

Until we talk again, live passionately, give generously, and impact the world for God.

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TRANSCRIPT

Hey, this is Todd Philips, your online pastor and personal life coach. Yeah that’s right – just for you.

Listen I’m going to talk today about seeing people in a different light. Now let me try to explain a little bit about what I’m talking about.

We make lot of assumptions about people—I know I do. Maybe you can relate to this—when someone does something to us that is wrong. For example, they cut us off on the highway or they cut in line at Starbucks—we assume that they’re doing that on purpose.

But, we know ourselves, right? I mean a lot of times we don’t realize what we’re doing even though we’re offending someone else—we have no idea what’s really going on around us. Sometimes we’re completely unaware.

What I want to talk about today is the idea of giving people the benefit of the doubt and seeing through the lens of compassion.

Here’s a great challenge that I’ve been dealing with personally—that I’ve been trying to work on. And let me say this—as we’re going through this, I want us to go through this together; I want us to go through this journey together, to understand better how God wants to use us. Not only to understand ourselves and our purpose better, but to impact the world around us.

And this is a challenge I’ve had—I’ve always had a challenge driving. In fact, that’s why I don’t have a Jesus fish on the back of my car, and I’ve got really tinted windows.

You think I’m kidding—driving has been a real challenge for me. I remember being on the highway just a little bit ago and there was a lot of traffic, and this guy—he did—he just cut me off. No blinker, no nothing. Coat of paint, we would have hit each other.

So in my mind I’m imagining myself, “Wow, I’m going to follow that guy home, I’m going to wait till he parks, I’m going to reach into his window and grab his blinker and pull it off his dash and go ‘clearly you don’t need that?'”

Now I didn’t do that but I’m thinking that in my mind. Look here’s the deal, as I was thinking through that, I got home and started reading the Bible and there was a verse, Matthew chapter 9 verse 36.

I’m going to read it to you right now—this is a verse about Jesus and the way HE saw people. Ok, so here it is, it says this:

“When He [when Jesus] saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Think about that—when Jesus saw the crowds with all their challenges, with all their shortcomings, with all their anger and their foibles, and their failures, He looked out on the crowd and saw compassion on them.

And that’s exactly the opposite of what I saw when I was on the road that day. In fact, I remember being on the road when I was angry at that guy who had just cut me off. It was as though God just pierced my heart with this idea and went, “Todd you need to see people the way that I see people—with compassion.”

And I began to look around and I imagined that the woman that was flying by me 20 miles an hour faster than I was driving and that I would have thought was crazy and been angry with her driving that way—it was as though God was saying that that woman driving past you is going through a divorce. You need to see her with compassion, to put different lenses over your eyes to see her in a different way.

You know that guy that just cut you off, he didn’t do that on purpose, he just lost his job and instead of going home and telling his wife that he’s lost his job, he’s decided to stop by a bar and have 3 or 4 drinks before he gets home—his life is in shambles. When you see him have compassion on him like a sheep with a shepherd.

Listen this is what I want you to think about today:

As you’re going through the day, as you’re getting in the car and driving down the road and going to the next meeting or sitting down with another staff person or you’re seeing this on the weekend and you’ve got family all around you—wherever you are and whatever you’re doing just think about this.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he saw them with compassion.

Why don’t each of us just look for one opportunity to offer someone compassion and love and engage in them and lean toward them—even though they’re angry or they offend us.

Now this has to be sincere because we can’t just give them a false smile and in our hearts be raging. But just asking God to mold our hearts and shape our hearts so that we can respond with kindness.

You know I always tell people one of the greatest opportunities we have in a relationship with God is to pour ourselves out to people, expecting nothing in return, knowing that God is filling us up to overflow.

Well we need to remember that, especially with those who offend us—and that we would pour out to them kindness and generosity and compassion, expecting—and this is important—expecting nothing in return.

Then we can give that honestly and openly and regardless of their response we can walk away knowing that God has used us and we’ve had an impact on the world.

So think about that over today and even tomorrow and the next day as you’re going throughout life and until then, live passionately, give generously, and impact the world for God.

[after video]

Hey, it’s Todd. Did you get something out the video you just watched? I really hope you did.

I mean, that’s my passionto give you something that can be applied rightly to your life, right now.

Listen, if that happened, I want you to go right here, and just click on this subscription, this subscribe button, and it’ll take you straight to the page, and you can subscribe to my blog and get this content coming to your inbox every week.

I hope you’ll let me do that. I hope you’ll allow us to be on this journey together. See you soon!


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