HOW I MAKE OTHERS FEEL
The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot. Proverbs 10:7
Positive emotions and rich images abound when the righteous are mentioned. Joseph. Abraham. King David. John the Apostle. Martin Luther. D.L.Moody. Franklin Graham. Negative images and conflicting emotions rise up when the names of wicked men are spoken. Jezebel. Ahab. Herod. Judas. Hitler. Bin Laden.
To make this truth even more personal, what happens when I speak the names of family members I know well? The names of good people make me smile. The names of those who mis-use others, or at the very least, are just self-centered, make me wince. I count the days until I can see the righteous. I number the days, in dread, when I know I have to see their counterpart.
The whole law rests on two simple, scriptural principles. “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind. And, love your neighbor as you love yourself.” As I think about legacies, it really does boil down to these. The people I desire to be around are the ones who walk humbly with God and love others. Pretty simple. I have no desire to spend time with those who know a lot and never let me forget it. I do not wish to fellowship with someone who dresses well and drives the nicest car, especially if that person has a need to make me feel sub-standard. Yet, how often do people begin their day by asking, “Who can I love today?” Perhaps that is the greatest sign of spiritual maturity.
I recall the years I felt it was most important to impress others. Wanting their respect, I calculated my behavior ahead of time. I obsessed about what I would wear. I spent extra time styling my hair. I worried about how much I would contribute to conversations, all the while failing to realize that these very preoccupations would distance me from others. No one would feel a desire to draw close to me when all I appeared to think about was my own image.
When my name is spoken today, how do others feel? A frightening question to ask but necessary if I wish to leave a righteous legacy to the glory of God.
Jesus, even You were preoccupied with Your Father’s glory. You drew others to Yourself because of His love for them. Give me your heart for people today so that love is first on my mind. In Jesus’ name, Amen