by Rick Warren
“The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17 NIV)
Being considerate is the antidote to the two most common mistakes that we make in relationships.
The first mistake we make is reacting to what people say while ignoring how people feel. We pay too much attention to someone’s words and not enough attention to his or her emotions. The words don’t really matter. People say stuff when they’re angry that they don’t even mean. They use words they don’t even intend to use. They exaggerate things. But you need to look behind the words at the emotion, because that’s what it is. People don’t always say what they mean, but they always feel what they feel.
So if you are wise in a relationship, you stop focusing on what your kids or your boyfriend or your husband or your wife or your boss says that just ticks you off, and you start being considerate. That simply means you are mindful of the feelings of others. Unkind people are those who need your kindness the most. When people are rude and unkind, they are screaming to the world, “I’m in pain!” Hurt people always hurt people.
The other mistake we make in relationships is invalidating any feelings that we don’t feel ourselves.
This is when you believe something is dumb or irrational or illogical because it’s not what you feel, and you dismiss it. But can someone be cold and somebody else be warm at the same time? Yes. So why are you arguing about it?
When we invalidate other people’s feelings because we don’t feel it, we minimize that person. Guys, if your girlfriend or your wife says to you, “I feel ugly,” don’t dismiss it and say, “You’re not ugly!” That doesn’t help at all. What you need to do is say, “Why would you feel that? What would make you say that?” because you need to look beyond the words and get to the real issue.
Feelings are neither right nor wrong. They’re just there. If someone feels something, she shouldn’t have to defend it. She just needs you to say, “I hear you.”
The Bible says, “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere”(James 3:17 NIV).
With Heaven’s wisdom, you’ll stop minimizing other people’s feelings. You’ll let the other person feel what they feel without minimizing it. You will let him feel tired when he’s tired and not try to talk him out of it. You will let her feel depressed when she’s depressed and not try to talk her out of it. Wise people are considerate of other people’s feelings.
Talk About It
What effect do you see in people when you show kindness to them when they are hurting?
What will it take for you to be more considerate of people’s feelings and not just their words? What habits do you need to change or adopt?