Troublesome Topic: Interactions with Others

By Audry Eberhard

There are times in our lives when we allow what others say to us in the way of criticism that is meant to be helpful to shake our world in such a way that we feel it is unfair and uncalled for. “After all, I have rights too and I am just trying my best to live in obedience to God. What right does someone else have to criticize something that I am trying to do. I deserve respect and honor; therefore, you should not cut me down.” This goes back a bit to the whole low self-esteem thinking. “I am worthy of respect therefore you need to bend over backwards to protect my feelings, because I am something special.” This is another attitude that needs to be taken to the cross; I must confess that I am not perfect and there are times that I need some helpful correction from those who love me and want only what’s best for me. They can see things that I can’t; and I benefit when I listen to what they have to say and then go to God and His Word for confirmation and ultimate correction. It is only as I humble myself before the cross, nailing my pride and selfishness there, that I can truly benefit from loving correction. I need to be thankful that others are concerned about me and see something that I might be missing.

Or perhaps I get upset because they bring up something I know I need to change in my life, but I have been avoiding dealing with or haven’t known how to deal with. The cross gives us the answer that brings victory in any situation. I must humble myself at the cross (the place where sin was dealt with victoriously) and complete my act of repentance by nailing that attitude to the cross where dead things should go. God can give us the wisdom and inner strength we need to deal with those situations in a way that will build us up not tear us down. God has created us for His pleasure, and in order for us to give Him pleasure He needs to bring correction into our lives sometimes through other people that we love. If the criticism is unfounded, we must still go to the cross and nail that criticism to the cross so that it will not turn into bitterness in our lives. When we leave it at the cross, we can walk away victoriously able to love that person in spite of the fact that they said something that was hurtful. Even if they never ask forgiveness, we can forgive them because of the unmerited forgiveness God extended to us by Jesus’ death on the cross.

There are times where I find it hard to be happy for those who are being successful in life. God’s Word tells us to rejoice with those who are rejoicing, and to always consider the other person above ourselves. We may have difficulty with being happy because we are jealous of the success they have enjoyed. Jealousy is a sin. Many places in God’s Word we are told that jealousy, if not dealt with, can lead to many other sins in our lives. Once again, the cross has the answers that we need to deal with areas of sin in our lives. That desire to have what others have is self-focused and must be confessed to God and possibly the other person involved if anything hurtful was said. We must then nail that sin to the cross, the place of death for all of sin, and ask God to place within us a spirit of love and compassion for those around us who are achieving success in their lives. All of us are on a unique and specially-designed faith journey so our story will be very different from those around us, but with the enabling Spirit of Christ within us, we can be joyful for those who achieve great things in life. They are doing what God has created them to do. The cross experience helps us to see others through God’s eyes of love.

What about comparing ourselves to others around us? We either think that we are better, on par, or worse than the person we are comparing ourselves to. We are focusing on ourselves as the measuring rod for everyone else. Instead we should be looking at others as created beings of the same God each with their own potential and individual gifts. The true measuring rod should be God’s Word, and we fall far short of that as does everyone around us. Instead we must have the attitude of servanthood, which is realized only as we humble ourselves at the cross, nailing our pride to the cross and walking away victorious ready to be the hands and feet of Christ to those He brings across our path. He uses other people in our lives to shape and mold us into His character as well.

The next lesson is: Audry’s Story