26/7/2020 [Sunday Message] www.lifechurchmissions.com
Learn to See the Strengths in Others <Mt 7:3-5; 1 Co 1:26-31; Jer 9:23-24; 1 Sam 30:21-24>
In inter-personal relationships, there are a lot of potential and many blessings. Our relationship with people brings nourishment through love that we all need. It also includes mutual help from others and precious opportunities to co-work. But many factors can destroy these precious relationships or limit its potential. In particular, frictions between people all start from judging, accusing and looking down on one another. When people only pay attention to the negative side of others and have a lot of dissatisfaction and criticism, interpersonal relationships will begin to breakdown. The relationship which was intended to help one another and give each other strength will not be able to realize its glorious potential. Although people all have sin and have their ugly and unlovable sides, if we can learn to value and appreciate them, then our relationship with people will not only be good, but we can also derive many blessings from them.
1. Man’s problem is always looking at people’s weaknesses rather than their strengths <Mt 7:3-5>
1） Fallen human nature causes us to have narrow perspective
In fact, it is not that people have no strengths, but that we cannot see or do not have the heart to seek them. Our fallen heart is very selective and one-sided. Sometimes people have many strengths but we always take them for granted, and when they have a little flaw, we become critical of them and like to magnify their shortcomings and weaknesses. Our subjective and one-sided perspective can also blind us and prevent us from seeing that in addition to the good ideas and practices that we favour, there are other perspectives or methods that we can also refer to. God puts other people around us in order to bless us, help us, and even shape us so that we can improve.
2）Know more, judge more
Because we believers know the truth and know that all people have sin, perhaps it is easier to doubt people's character and be suspicious of their motives. Sometimes, if a person has wronged and offended us, we will form a conclusion of him in our heart, thinking that he is not that good a person, and then we do not bother to find out if he has other strengths. Or perhaps, when we know too much and know what is right or wrong; what is considered spiritual and what is considered weak, we will easily judge others using what we know and think that people are not doing well enough, or they are weak and have no strengths. But in fact, God's truth goes together with God's love. If our knowledge of the truth makes us critical of others, and are increasingly unable to love others or show compassion for them, then our understanding of God is biased, and we will not be able to grasp God's heart. The truth is to help us grow in our love, not to lose love.
2. Must redefine what is meant by “human strengths”
1）The world’s definition of “strengths”
How does the world assess if a person has strengths or appraise the worth of a person? It is by looking at whether he has any skills, qualifications, talents, competencies, or accomplishments. For example, if a person can successfully start and manage a business, or is very good at teaching children, or is very eloquent and convincing, or his proposed strategies always work, then people will think that he is someone with strengths. However, this is worldly perspective.
2）What does God deem as good?
The Bible tells us that those whom God has chosen are of different standards as the world. Read: <1 Co 1:26-31; Jer 9:23-24>. There are many smart, courageous and successful people in the world, but among them, many are also not chosen by God. Yet you ask, what strengths do the foolish, the weak and the lowly have? Their strength lies in the fact that God can manifest His glory through their lives. Their worth lies in being able to be used by God to fulfill His purpose. When God looks at a person’s strengths, He looks at whether a person fears the Lord. In fact, in the Lord, even the least also have their strengths. Biblical examples: <Ex 17:8-13; 1 Sam 30:21-24>.
When we live and co-work with people, we tend to easily notice people’s weaknesses, or areas in which they do not perform well, we easily look down on people and exalt our own contributions, wisdom, strengths, etc. However, if we intentionally examine from God’s perspective why He gives certain people certain conditions, qualifications, and places them beside me, to live and co-work with me, then we will see the precious worth of those people. We already know that those whom God has chosen are weak, but because God is working practically on His children, we should have the heart to discover people’s “strengths in weakness”. Particularly, a person’s strength is not about whether he has any qualities or what he can do, but his strength is about how much he knows God, trusts and obeys Him, and walks with God. As long as a person’s heart is inclined toward God and is easily touched by God, then no matter how weak he is right now, he has hope, and he can grow and improve. Therefore, we should have hopes about him and value him.
3. When we learn to see the strengths in others, it can bring many benefits
1) Improve our relationship with others
When we can see the dignity of others, our love for them will grow. We believers know we must love others. Love comes from the heart and is not just a set of principles. If we do not use our heart to discover how good they are, their strengths, dignity and value, our love is forced and without feelings. However, if we can try to find the strengths in others, we can naturally respect and love them from our heart. Of course, love is also genuine, when we learn to see a person's strength, it doesn't mean we will not see his weaknesses. But amazingly, love can help us to be willing to complement the person to become better, even after seeing their weaknesses. And in complementing the person, we will not be proud, because we know this is an opportunity from God to bless others. When we learn to use wisely each other's strengths and complement each other's weaknesses, this will bring about blessed co-working relationship.
2) Lives can be built up
This world is full of people, things, opinions and environment that can cause people to be discouraged and have low self-worth. Most people want to prove themselves to be better, and very few live to edify others. But for Christians, who are the recipient of God's grace, all the more we will have to develop the virtue of compassion, not be someone who just criticize another person's weakness, but to edify others with a heart of love. At the right time, in times of need, when we give a person a word of encouragement, we can bring a person out of stagnant faith, discouragement and hopelessness. And if we truly want to build up a person, we must sincerely value him in the Lord from the bottom of our heart, no matter how weak he is. For him to discover the potential God has put in him, we must constantly confirm with him his strengths and then challenge him to do better. Although in the process of challenging him, he may grumble, or make mistakes or become weak, we continue to help him see the strengths God has given him, so that he can also discover his God-given potential and strive to improve. Therefore, if we can learn to see the strengths of others, we can build them up and edify them, so that they can fulfill their potential in Christ.
3) Make yourself humble
When we discover the strengths of others, we will not keep focusing on ourselves, thinking we are the most right, best, most experienced, with the best ideas. Sometimes, we cannot see other people's strengths because we always think we are very good. However, when we honor God, and those He loves, and is willing to discover their good points and strengths, this is also a humbling process. God can give us strengths, and He will surely give others their strengths as well. We have our contribution, others will have their dignified roles.
4) Please God and make our relationship with God closer
God likes us to be humble and for us to see the dignity of those He has created. Furthermore, when we know how to see the strengths in others, we will start to value what God is doing in our lives and the conditions He is giving us. Sometimes, those who find it hard to see the good in others, are the same ones who are also critical about themselves, such that they do not see their own strengths. When a person knows how to appreciate the work God is doing on another person's life, he will increasingly learn to recognize his own dignity. In this way, we will not only thank God for putting other dignified people around us, but also give thanks for the wonderful works God Is doing in our lives.