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Learning to Appreciate People (LAP) - by Brian Yates

January 4, 2020


This topic is a personal journey that I am on, that I call Learning to Appreciate People.  Every time that I have an opportunity to give this presentation, I invite folks like you to journey with me and many have accepted that invitation.  I hope that you will make the same decision.

Those journeying with me make up an unbelievably diverse group.  Some are very young, elementary school-aged in fact.  Some are quite old possibly having little time left on this earth in some cases.  There are homemakers and those that work outside of the home that have joined this journey.  Of those working outside the home, there are both laborers and executives.  These journeyers are of all different socio-economic standings and they are also of all races and backgrounds.  I have added, to this journey, some of the most straight-laced, by-the-book, law-abiding people that you could imagine.  But some that wouldn’t be described as straight-laced, at all.  I once sat toe-to-toe, knee-to-knee and stared into the eyes of a man who killed his wife.  He was given an invitation to journey, as well.  

You see these people may seem very different by these descriptions.  However, there are a couple of profound similarities among each and every one of them.  There are things that I know to be true about each one and they are the same two things that I know to be true about each of you.  It’s true that I do know some things about you.  While we have never met before, there are a couple of things that I absolutely know about you.  This isn’t magic and it’s not some kind of parlor game.  It’s real and it’s true.


Is everyone familiar with the 10 Commandments?  Sure.  You may not know it completely as in Chapter and Verse, and you may not be able to recite all ten, but I am sure that you are familiar with the story.  You know that God called Moses to the top of Mount Sinai and then the following happened.  Listen as I give some excerpts from the book of Exodus, Chapter 20, Verses 3-17.

1. You shall have no other gods before me. 

2. You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. 

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. 

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

5. Honor your father and your mother. 

6. You shall not murder. 

7. You shall not commit adultery. 

8. You shall not steal. 

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor.


This is what God commands.  How are you doing against that standard?  Are you living a life that measures up?  Are you without sin?  I am confident that you have sinned.  Indeed, just like all the people that you or I will encounter today, I believe that you have fallen short of these commandments.  You are flawed and while you were created in the image and likeness of God, you are not perfect.


Now, you may say that the test is a difficult one.  What if we reduced the list a little bit to just the most important?  Well, let’s return to the Bible to the book of Matthew chapter 22, verses 34 through 40.

 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.  One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?

Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.  All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”


Well, there you have it.  We have been given an abbreviated list of commandments.  Love God with everything that you have and love your neighbor as yourself.  Does everyone now get to move to the head of the class?  Is everyone now receiving high marks?  No.  We are all still coming up short.  We are still flawed and we would still say that we are not perfect.  This is the first thing that I know about each of you and it is the first thing that we all have in common.  We aren’t perfect.  I am not perfect.  You are not perfect.  None of us is perfect.


But there is more that I know about you.  We have more in common than just our lack of perfection.  You see, I also know that God loves us.  And he loves us a lot.  Even with our flaws, and our imperfections, he still loves us.  As a matter of fact, he loves us so much that he sent Jesus Christ to this earth and allowed him to be persecuted and beaten and hung upon a cross so that our sins could be forgiven and so that we could spend all of eternity with Him.  Recall the book of John, chapter three, verse 16. 


For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but

have everlasting life.

No we aren't perfect, but we do have enough value that God is willing to allow us through Heaven’s gates.  Heaven awaits us if we believe, and if we confess our sins.  There is no doubt in my mind that by having that opportunity we definitely have value.


So, let’s review.  What do I know about you and what do we have in common?  Well, it’s summed up with a coin that I had made and that I carry with me, every day.  On one side it says learning to appreciate people.  The other side of the coin says I am not perfect, nobody is.  I have value, everybody does.


You may say, so what.  What is the relevance of these similarities?  Well, the reason that it is so important is because one of the easiest ways to build interactions, grow relationships and develop a strong community is by recognizing commonality.  But in our society, we tend to focus more on differences than similarities.


Think about the divisiveness in our society and to do that let's look at this recent presidential election as a perfect example.  Obviously, in a presidential election there is a natural division by political party.  We tend to focus on the fact that we are Democrats and Republicans rather than seeing each other as equally concerned, civic-minded members of a community.  In this election there was an incredible amount of division around the aspects of war.  We focused on the different views about whether we should or should not be in Iraq, rather than realizing our shared concerns for our long-term national security.  Because of Hillary Clinton's involvement in the primaries, and Sarah Palin’s presence on the ticket of the general election, we focused on the differences of males and females rather than the concern for children and family that is shared by both sexes.  Due to the great difference in age between Barack Obama and John McCain, we focused on the contrast of generations and not the challenges that have faced every generation.  Because Barack Obama is African-American, the presidential campaign became divided by race rather than focused on the plight of all human beings.


I encourage you to see the similarities that exist within all of your relationships.  Seek them out but know that there are always at least two pieces of common ground.  Again, they are the lack of perfection and God’s uncompromised and unwavering love for each and every one of us.


What would your interactions with other people look like if you carried that mentality with you?  I believe that our interactions can be dramatically healthier if our actions are consistent with that core belief.  And I'm talking about every interaction that we have.  We can have healthier interactions with co-workers, with friends, with neighbors, with waiters and waitresses, with our spouse and with our children.  Every one with whom we interact is flawed and everyone has value.


Generally, when we think about someone's value, we end up trying to assess their positive attributes or their skills or even their worth.  For those things, there may be a “show-me” sort of attitude.  We are only willing to concede that someone has value when they are able to demonstrate it to us.  But what if we replaced that “wait-and-see” approach with a real honest belief that God created all and that by that definition we all have value?  It is with that perspective that we can be really enthusiastic about interacting with people.  After all, it is an opportunity to meet another one of God’s incredible creations.


I have to caution you.  Doing this is going to throw some people off a bit.  They are going to be caught off guard and you know what?  It is absolutely worth it.


But let’s be realistic.  It isn’t natural.  We have a lot of involuntary, immediate, emotional reactions because of a lifetime of stereotypes and biases that we must learn to overcome.  With some effort and with a willingness to utilize some very specific techniques, you can be on your way to much healthier and enjoyable relationships.  It requires a very intentional approach to living life.  To really do this, it takes intention in place of reaction.


The first thing that we need to do is to have a legitimate interest in those around us.  After all, God takes an interest in all of us.  Why wouldn't we?  It would be silly to think that someone is good enough for God, but not good enough for us.  This means recognizing that we can’t go it alone.  We need others in our life.  Some of life’s challenges require the skills of many.  A business can’t operate with only a sales department and no operations to produce what has been sold.  A surgeon’s ability to focus on the patient is diminished without an operating room nurse present to offer the right equipment.


Let’s recognize a little bit about how relationships develop.  We start off knowing nothing about the other person and our natural tendency is to seek safety.  Safety or comfort comes from common ground.  Of course, we know that we always have something in common with everyone.  This allows us to continue warming to one another.  We will want to know even more about the other person, as long as everything that we learn is comfortable.  Enough of that warming, and a relationship begins to form.  But eventually, there will be discomfort.  This something negative may simply be some of those little imperfections that we agree everyone has, or it may be something really difficult for us to accept.  This is the storming phase of relationship.  Warming, forming and storming are three things that will happen on the way to any strong relationship.


Unfortunately, we tend to turn even the smallest of differences into a reason to terminate the relationship.  We don’t tend to do a very good job of weathering the storm.  So let’s examine why that is.


Part of the reason is an inability or an unwillingness to accept differences as being okay.  It also relates to our struggles with forgiveness.  If someone wrongs us and that is the basis for our storming, we may find it easier to build a wall and cast them aside.  Unfortunately, this hurts us just as much as them and in some cases even more.  Let’s look at an example with which I am sure you can all relate.  Has anyone ever had some guy cut you off in traffic?  Sure.  It happens.  How do you react?  Do you yell and scream and shout obscenities or gesture in a crude fashion. But let’s look at this for a little bit.  What do we know about this guy and how does it match up with our reaction?  What we really know is that they are not perfect and that God loves them and that they cut us off in traffic.  We don’t know why they cut us off or even if it was an accident or on purpose.  However, we screamed terrible things and called him awful names or maybe you even made a judgment about his mother.  Let that sink in for a second.  The blood is boiling when you get cut off.  Of course, it’s your blood that is boiling and not his.  You are the one that is suffering.

There is a book called the fifth discipline and in it the author speaks of us owning a barrel.  When someone wrongs us, we place them in the bottom of our barrel.  We cast them out of our lives, mentally.  But chances are they are still in our lives.  The author teaches that there are two rules to the barrel.  Rule number one is that once someone is in the barrel, everything that they do or say is further evidence that they should be a resident of our barrel.  And rule number two, as a result of rule number one, is that they can never take themselves out of our barrel.  Only the owner of the barrel can reduce the number of residents.  If you let them out of your barrel, you have forgiven them.  God would be willing to forgive them.  We should be willing to do the same.  The guy that cuts you off in traffic is a resident of your barrel and he doesn’t care and actually he might not even know it.  Even if you want to be upset, you should forgive him for your health.


A real understanding of and belief in reciprocity is the next technique to keep in mind as you work to improve your relationships.  Reciprocity simply put is an expectation of return in kind.  What you give will be given back to you.  With that in mind, look for ways to thank people and to congratulate them.  If you want them to be aware of some of their shortcomings, share some of yours with them.


In the Bible, the book of Proverbs, Chapter 27, Verse two says, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.  This is most easily accomplished by you praising them first.  This is in direct contrast with our natural tendencies.  We tend to judge and criticize others while looking for ways to boast about our own accomplishments.  Now you might say that if I am talking about their strengths and sharing my own flaws, but their natural tendency is to talk about their strengths and my flaws we haven’t accomplished much.  But trust in reciprocity.  It does exist.  I have seen it happen time and again.  If you focus on their pluses without being insincere and your shortcomings, without being self deprecating, they will do the same.  And it will make for a much healthier interaction.  This is not easy, but you can do it.  It requires self-discipline to focus on other peoples’ positives and it takes a huge dose of humility to admit your flaws, but it is incredibly powerful.  And again trust in reciprocity.


The next thing to do is to give more thanks.  Try and get in the habit of giving thanks.  Thank someone of a different political party for becoming informed and for being willing to stand up and be counted in an effort to move our country along.  Thank a service provider for the efforts even if they deliver below your expectations.  Thank servicemen or women for the freedom they provide regardless of your thoughts about war.  The next time you are tempted to be upset with your child’s little league coach for the lack of your child’s playing time, thank the coach for the time that they have given up by volunteering for our youth.


Now, in an effort to promote healthier interactions let people climb mountains.  You may be saying that you are not aware of having ever stopped someone from climbing a mountain.  But chances are you have.  Let's think about some of the things that we know about mountain climbers.  What are mountain climbers trying to do?  They are trying to get to the top, right?  And what does a mountain climber do when they slip down a little bit.  They try even harder to get to the top.  As we interact with people they are trying to get to the top, metaphorically, of course.  They want to be heard, they want to express themselves and they want to let it out, whatever “it” may be.  When we prevent them from conveying their beliefs or when we argue with them, we push them off the mountain and they work that much harder with a renewed effort to get to the top.  The nice thing about recognizing this is that just like the mountain climber who gets to the top and then almost immediately begins their decent you can expect the same from those with whom you interact.  Let people reach the top and upon their return to the bottom, the opportunity to have rational intellectual dialogue is greatly enhanced.

One more approach to this issue is in agreeing with people.  You may be thinking I don’t mind agreeing with people as long as what they say is right.  That generally translates to I’ll agree with them as long as they are saying the same thing that I am.  But the reality is that you can agree with everyone regardless of what they say as long as you are willing to agree with why they are saying it and not the actual content.  Let me explain.  If in the days of Christopher Columbus, people had actually believed that the world was flat you could agree with why they might have believed it.  What I mean is that if someone had no scientific knowledge of the world being spherical and they looked out to the horizon it does have an appearance of just ending.  Let’s also assume that this same person had also known of some sailors that went out on voyages and they disappeared over the horizon and never returned that would certainly support their thinking.  It doesn’t make it true that the world is flat, but you can certainly understand why they might have come to that conclusion.  You can agree with why they feel a certain way or why they believe something to be true.  Now, if you want to persuade them, you could choose to argue or choose to agree as your next step.  Agreeing with them will create a much more conducive climate for presenting new information.  Arguing will only cause them to be defensive or possibly to reject you.  So we should try to show that we agree with why they believe what they believe.  We are simply showing that we understand why they believe as they do.   

Let’s look at it in a slightly different way.  Do you remember the terrible Waco tragedy involving David Kuresh and his followers at Mount Carmel?  One aspect of that incident that I recall vividly was the press conference with Attorney General Janet Reno shortly after the raid.  She had just lost a number of her own Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agents and the raid certainly had not gone off as anticipated.  In that press conference she was asked, “What do you think of your decision to raid the compound?”  She responded that she made the best decision that she could with the information that was available at the time that she felt she needed to make a decision.  Now I have no need to condone or condemn her decisions.  It’s not my place to judge, but she sums up the idea that people aren’t wrong, but that they may just simply need more information.  It was clear that she was wishing she had more information.


Here is a much lighter example.  Let’s say that I wanted to do a study of houseflies.  I get myself a housefly and I tell it to fly away.  Low and behold, it flies away.  I could conclude that a fly will fly upon command.  Or then I retrieve the fly and I rip off the fly’s wings.  Again, I tell it to fly away.  It just sits there.  I try again.  Fly away.  It still sits there.  I could conclude that a fly cannot hear without wings.  This is obviously a silly example, but it goes to show that people can come to a number of very different conclusions.  And it’s only through a landscape that is comfortable that we can openly share and educate while also being educated.


Imagine how some of these conclusions can impact our beliefs about others.  In the book, Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell he talks about a revolution in classical music.  The world of classical music – particularly in its European hoe – was until very recently the preserve of white men.  Women, it was believed, simply could not play like men.    They didn’t have the strength, the attitude, or the resilience for certain kinds of pieces.  Their lips were different.  Their lungs were less powerful.  Their hands were smaller.  That did not seem like a prejudice.  It seemed like a fact, because when conductors and music directors and maestros held auditions, the men always seemed to sound better than the women.  No one paid much attention to how auditions were held, because it was an article of faith that one of the things that made a music expert a music expert was that he could listen to music played under any circumstances and gauge, instantly and objectively, the quality of the performance.  Auditions for major orchestras were sometimes held in the conductor’s dressing room, or in his hotel room if he was passing through town.  Performers played for five minutes or two minutes or ten minutes.  What did it matter?  Music was music.  Rainer Kuchl, the concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic, once said he could instantly tell the difference with his eyes closed between, say, a male and female violinist.  The trained ear, he believed, could pick up the softness and flexibility of the female style.


But over the past few decades, the classical music world has undergone a revolution.  In the United States, orchestra musicians began to organize themselves politically.  They formed a union and fought for proper contracts, health benefits, and protections against arbitrary firing and along with that was a push for fairness in hiring.  Many musicians thought that conductors were abusing their power and playing favorites.  They wanted the audition process to be formalized.  That meant an official audition committee was established instead of a conductor making the decision by himself.  In some places, rules were put in place forbidding the judges from speaking among themselves during auditions, so that one person’s opinion would not cloud the view of another.  Musicians were identified not by name but by number.  Screens were erected between the committee and the individual auditioning and if the person auditioning cleared his or her throat or made any kind of identifiable sound – if they were wearing heels, for example, and stepped on a part of the floor that wasn’t carpeted – they were ushered out and given a new number.  And as these new rules were put in place around the country, an extraordinary thing happened: orchestras began to hire women.


In the past thirty years, since screens became commonplace, the number of women in the top U.S. orchestras has increased fivefold.  “The very first time the new rules for auditions were used, we were looking for four new violinists,” remembers Herb Weksleblatt, a tuba player for the Metropolitan Opera in New York, who led the fight for blind auditions at the Met in the mid 1960’s.  “And all of the winners were women.  That would simply never have happened before.  Up until that point, we had maybe three women in the whole orchestra.  I remember that after it was announced that the four women had won, one guy was absolutely furious at me.  He said, ‘You’re going to be remembered as the SOB who brought women into this orchestra.’”  Who needs to be hidden behind a curtain if they want to have any chance of making the cut with you?


Think of how many different ways in which this happens.  We divide on the basis of skin color, age, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and nationality.  And we do it despite the fact that we are all flawed and the fact that we all have God’s love.  A real simple way of seeing this is that if someone is different from you, by definition then you are different from them.  Do you want to be judged as you are judging them?  Matthew Chapter 7 verses one through five says:

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye"


Think of the words from The Lord’s Prayer – forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.


Also, be aware of how our language may be in direct contrast to our beliefs.  We tend to use words like hate and despise fairly freely.  Do we really hate the things that we claim to hate?  The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of hate is this: an intense aversion usually deriving from fear, anger or sense of injury.  With that definition as a backdrop, maybe I don’t really hate lima beans.  They aren’t my favorite.  I might prefer a lot of things to them, but I really can’t say that I have an intense aversion deriving from fear, anger or sense of injury.  Truth be known, I just don’t like the taste.  But that’s not what we say.  We say I hate them.  The same is true of people around us.  Do we have an intense aversion deriving from fear, anger or sense of injury?  That is probably an unfair characterization of many relationships in which we say we hate a person.  Are some people frustrating to us from time to time?  Yes.  Are some people difficult?  Yes.  But chances are we aren’t so angry, afraid or concerned of injury that we can’t even be around them and yet we tend to say we hate them.


Another challenge with our language is the use of sarcasm.  Let’s go back to the dictionary one more time.  Sarcasm is defined as a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain.  Cut or give pain.  Does that really sound like loving thy neighbor?  No, of course it doesn’t.

Look.  If we are a source of pain for those around us, due to sarcasm, negativity, hate or by just being downright disagreeable we won’t have healthy interactions.  In fact, we may have a hard time forming interactions or relationships, at all.


The last one that I want you to ponder is what I like to call skipping to the last page of the book.  Sometimes, we assume that we know how the story is going to end when it has barely started.  There is an old story about a wise man in a very small village.  This man owned the strongest horse in all the land.  One day, a neighbor commented that he was very lucky to have such a strong horse.  The horse owner responded, “maybe, maybe not”.  A few weeks later that horse that was so strong broke through the fence and disappeared over the horizon.  The neighbor heard the news and came by to visit with the man.  He said, “I heard the news.  You are so unlucky”.  The man responded, “maybe, maybe not”.  About a month later, the horse returned and he made a friend while he was gone.  It was an equally strong horse.  Now the man had two strong horses.  The neighbor said, “You are so lucky”.  The man responded, “maybe, maybe not”.  This new horse was wild and the man’s son was given the task of breaking the horse.  In the process, he was thrown and his back was broken.  The boy was completely laid up for more than half a year.  The neighbor heard the news and said, “You are so unlucky”.  The man said, “maybe, maybe not”.  During these months of the son being on his back, all his friends were called off to fight with a neighboring village and none of them returned alive.  The incapacitated boy’s life was spared.  The neighbor heard the news and said, “You are so lucky”.  The man responded, “maybe, maybe not”.  The bottom line is we don’t know the end of the story.  What may seem lucky now may fade and what may seem a hardship may indeed be a blessing.


We have touched on a lot of different relationships that can be enhanced by doing a better job of Learning to Appreciate People.  But the next relationship type is my favorite.  It’s the one that I think is the most important and the one for which I am most passionate.  It’s our immediate family.  It’s our spouse and our children.  Are we appreciating them in the way that we should?  Do they feel the same unconditional love that our Father, our God gives to us?  Let me share a story with you.  A number of years ago, I was hired as a consultant to an insurance company.  Part of my consulting work involved examining the vendor “relationships” of the company.  I was reviewing them with a senior executive and he had various complaints about every company that we discussed, except one.  When he talked about that company he stated it is the perfect relationship.  I asked what made it perfect and he said, we feel fortunate to have them and they know it and they feel fortunate to have us and we know it.  It is a true partnership.


As I continued to work with that company and more specifically that senior executive, I came to know that this was not just the only vendor relationship that he could describe that way.  It was the one and only relationship of his life that he would describe in that way.  Months later, he shared with me that he didn’t feel terribly fortunate to have the relationship with his wife and he was certain that she didn’t feel at all fortunate to have a relationship with him.  That was a source of great pain for him, but the greater pain was when he shared that he did feel fortunate to have a relationship with his son, but that he wasn’t sure his son knew it and that he had little confidence that his son felt fortunate to have a relationship with him.


Does this sound at all familiar to you?  I hope not.  I sincerely hope not.  But it’s out there.  I talk to a lot of people about the health of their life relationships and people are struggling in this area.


With your spouse, be supportive.  My wife is an incredible source of inspiration to me.  She is a beautiful woman both inside and out and I am fortunate to have a relationship with her.  She is a terrific wife and companion and source of strength.  She is a fantastic mother to our children and my children and I are blessed to be with her.  It would be terrible if I shared that with you and not with her.  As a spouse it is imperative that we share openly and honestly our commitment to our relationship.  We must work together and when we have to be able to agree with how they feel even if we feel differently.  Remember, no one can ever argue with feelings.  After all, It is how you feel.  Share perspectives and grow together.  The vows of marriage include references to good times and bad for a reason.  The warming and forming of a life-long relationship can’t happen without the opportunities for some storming.  We know our spouse so well that we can brew up a storm on a moment’s notice.  With love, both unconditional and unending, at the base your marriage can be a relationship for which you both feel fortunate.


With your children, they need the same support.  They need to know that you will love them no matter what.  You can love them even when they disappoint you.  You can love them even when they frustrate you.  Some might say that in my household I talk about love with my kids, Ashley and Aiden, more than I should.  I would rather be accused of too much instead of not enough.  I tell my kids in a lot of different ways.  I tell them that I love them as big as the world.  I tell them that I love everything about them.  I tell them that I will always love them.  Sometimes I give them the sign language symbol for I love you.  Sometimes I just write a note and put 143 on it.  Oh, you don’t know that one.  Well, there is one letter in the word I, four letters in the word love and three letters in the word you.  And along with saying it, I try to show them my love.  I work hard to be there for every dance class and dentist appointment and for every holiday program at school.  I do love them, but what a waste if they don’t know it.


Along with our support, children need our guidance.  Part of what we have to offer a child is perspective and consequential thinking.  They may not be aware of the consequences of a decision.  They need us to be there to point them in the right direction and steer them away from trouble.  They won’t always follow our guidance, but we have to be there to offer it and to continue offering it.  They are going to make some bad choices and we will have to be there to scold and teach and develop.  Sometimes we have to be willing to reset our expectations.  We may be expecting perfection and we can’t expect that.  But regardless of the circumstances, we must continue to love them and they must hear it, see it and yes they must feel it.  This is part of the forgiveness that we get from God and that we should be giving to others, especially our own children.


Finally, we need to give them leadership.  We need to be the best example that we can possibly be.  Everything that we do and everything that we say, the way we do it and the way that we say it, is an example to those around us.  But we aren’t perfect, either.  Don’t feel that you have to be, but do the best you can and admit when you have made mistakes.  Apologize and expect their forgiveness if you have been forgiving them.  This is accountability.  Hold yourself accountable to a higher standard.


Speaking of children, I want to share a Christopher Robin cartoon with you.  Christopher Robin was coming down the stairs and he had Winnie the Pooh in one hand.  Winnie the Pooh was hitting his head on each and every step as they came down.  The caption was, “I am sure there is a better way to come down the stairs and if I would stop bumping my head long enough, I would figure out what it is.”  Today, you took time to stop bumping your head.  Today, you found or were reminded of a better way.


We’ve gone through a lot of information here today.  I hope that you feel better equipped to have healthy interactions with all of the people in your life, whether it is with a child or your spouse or a co-worker or even the guy who cuts you off in traffic.  Hopefully, with this as a catalyst you can love your neighbor.  I also think that it can help you to share the message that our God has given to us.  Hopefully, you can share the message of God’s love and the message of eternal life that is available for all who confess their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.  Don’t we want others to know that we believe in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting?  


Now, let’s finish where we started.  I have sinned.  I am flawed.  I am not perfect.  The same can be said for all of us.  In spite of all of that, God loves me.  He is willing to forgive my sins if I am willing to confess them and if I am willing to believe in his divine love.  I have value.  The same can be said for all of us.  I am not perfect, nobody is.  I have value everybody does.  I am on a journey – a journey of Learning to Appreciate People.  I am inviting you to join me.  Won’t you join me?

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