Biblical Keys to Healthy Relationships
Part 2: Right Thinking About Others
By Vanessa Jones
Do you know anyone whose number one goal in life, it seems, is to irritate you?
Sometimes it seems as if life would be easier if we did not have to put up with the annoying personalities of certain people. Guess what? We cannot control others, but we can control how we react and respond to them.
So, how should we respond to difficult people? What should our thinking be towards them?
Thinking “rightly” about the people we interact with requires us to accept the following basic truths about them:
1. People are image-bearers of God.
God said in Genesis 1:26 “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” Of all the things God created in heaven, on the earth, and in the sea, man was the only creature created in His image. When you think of who God is—the Almighty Maker and Ruler of the universe—for mankind to have been crafted in His image is an overwhelming reality!
What does it mean to be created in the image of God? Well, part of what it means is that each human being (regardless of status, background, or demeanor) is due a certain level of dignity and respect. In fact, six of the Ten Commandments prohibit sins against ones’ fellow human.
2. People are valuable and have great worth. Christ died for us and we belong to Him.
As God’s image-bearers, every human (even the unpleasant ones) have such a high value to God that He chose to sacrifice His only Son, Jesus, as payment for our sins. The Bible says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
3. Life is so much bigger than people. Life is about God. Ultimately, the relationship we have (or do not have) with Him is the most important thing in life.
In Colossians 1:15-17 we read, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Elsewhere in Psalm 8, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, King David reminds us that whatever “greatness” we think we have has been given to us by God. David writes in verses 4-5, “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”
These passages (and many others throughout the Bible) make it clear that God is the Creator and owner of everything in heaven and on earth. By the way, that includes you and me. We were created for Him, for His glory, and for His purpose. Do you know what that means? It means that the sovereign, all-powerful, Creator-God wants to have a relationship with people—selfish, arrogant, unlovable… people. What an amazing thought!
Now if God, who is holy and pure, can reach out in love to the worst of us, who are we not to do the same?
We should treat others with the utmost respect, even when we think they do not deserve it. Though we may disagree with them, we should never do anything to hurt them or bring shame to them.
Mark 12:29-31 says, “Jesus answered, The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
In other words, we are to love God and love people.
Do you want to be treated unfairly or rudely? Do you want to be taken advantage of? Of course you don’t. Neither do I! Then let us make an effort to not treat others that way; even if we feel they deserve it. Ask God to help you to start thinking rightly about others today.
Vanessa Jones is vice president and co-founder of Biblical Marriage Institute based in Birmingham, Al. Copyright © 2017 Vanessa M. Jones. All rights reserved.