Perhaps you feel as I do, Dear Reader. There is so much I want to impart to my children and time just keeps slipping and slipping away. I was recently talking to them about their wisdom and discernment skills. I encouraged them to listen for key phrases. Phrases, that when heard, will give them clues as to the character and motivation of another human being. I told them. . .
- Listen for the person who is willing to say, “I don’t know.” Not every person can know every answer to every question or how to handle every situation correctly. A person who is willing to acknowledge that he or she doesn’t have all the answers in life is an honest person. And if he or she doesn’t feel compelled to always try to appear knowledgeable and is honest about that, there’s a good chance he or she is honest about everything else in life too.
- Listen for the person who is willing to say, “I’m sorry, or I was wrong.” So many people move about Earth seemingly believing that their ways, their words, and their actions are always right and never wrong. Someone who displays a humble willingness to acknowledge faults and failures is a person who will prove trustworthy.
- Listen for the person who is willing to say, “I forgive you.” A person can ask another human being for forgiveness all he or she wants, but forgiveness is a two-way street. There has to be the forgiver and the forgiven. A person who will not say, “I forgive you” is a grudge holder. He or she will let bitterness dwell inside. And bitterness is not an individual sport. It’s a team sport as it negatively affects all those who come in contact with it.
- Listen for the person who says, “What do you think?” All of us are awfully good about airing our own opinions, but someone who is willing to take your opinion into account and at least hear you out is a gem.
- Listen for the person who is frequently celebrating others. This may take form in compliments or encouragement or how he or she celebrates another human being’s successes. This person understands the power of a blessing, and that by blessing others, it brings self worth to all. These are the people who are confident enough in themselves not to feel belittled when others achieve accomplishments they did not.
- Listen for the person who doesn’t talk negatively about the other when discerning between two individuals having a disagreement. Yes, most conflicts involve two people, but I can about guarantee that the person who is not speaking negatively of the other involved in the conflict is the one who can often be trusted the most.
- And listen for the person who shows you, “I love you.” Notice I didn’t say, “The person who says I love you.” The word “love” is thrown around a lot; yet, it is only by its actions where true love can be proven. Particularly watch how a person treats those who are serving him or her. Watch for acknowledgement when someone holds a door for that person, or refills a water glass, or clears away a dirty plate, or checks out his or her groceries at the store. This will tell you everything you need to know about who that person is on the inside.
And as important as all of that is, there is something that is even more important. You can’t control others. You can only control yourself.
- Be the person who is willing to say, “I don’t know.”
- Be the person who is willing to say, “I am sorry or I was wrong.”
- Be the person who is willing to extend your grace forgiveness and say, “I forgive you.”
- Be the person who cares enough about others to inquire, “What do you think?”
- Be the person who compliments, encourages, and celebrates the success of others.
- Be the person who is not willing to speak negatively of your enemy.
- And be the person who actually shows love. Be the person who doesn’t treat those with money, fame, or power any differently than you treat those who are poor, unknown, or powerless.
Don’t just listen for that person, BE that person. Alissa and Cameron, these are easy words to talk about, yet difficult words to live. But you can do it! Please continue to pray to God asking Him for wisdom and strength to be who He’s called you to be.
Until next Wednesday, Lord willing.