What do you think of these tips found on the internet?
View a picky person as one who “loves quality.”
See one who is boring as “consistent and stable.”
Instead of calling a person gullible, call them “trusting.”
Not weird but “unique.”
See a setback or failure as a “learning experience.”
It’s not a crisis but a “challenge.”
Not criticism but back-handed “advice or guidance.”
You’re not overwhelmed but “in demand”!
As you settle back in your favorite chair after a busy day, don’t see yourself as exhausted but as “recharging.”
We can find many suggestions for how to make our lives a bit better. I’m glad there are articles like “9 Easy Steps to Becoming a Decent Human Being.” (Step #1 – Realize when you’re being a jerk to someone and stop being a jerk. Maybe someone offers an idea in a meeting that you disagree with and you immediately, without intending to, shut them down. Maybe it really was a terrible idea, but a bit of common courtesy is required in everyday life.) And glad for “10 Tips For Raising Decent Human Beings” (Tip #1 – I do not sugarcoat my words if my child loses. Of course, I try to be as kind as possible but the hard truth is, most times, there is a winner and loser in almost all sports/competitions, and my kid needs to accept that.) We welcome any wisdom that helps improve our lives.
I believe, however, that we need the resources of our Christian faith in any project seeking to form persons who are decent and good. We humans have difficulty being good without God. Here are a few of the reasons:
- We need someone smarter than us to determine which behaviors lead to human flourishing. For example, Jesus was the first to call us to love our enemies and forgive those who wrong us, a call that yields such marvelous fruit in human relations. Yet that stance seems foolish—surely we should instead treat people according to what they deserve! We would never come up with wisdom like that on our own.
- The secular world believes in a sense of mutual human dignity. This is a very good thing and has fueled humanitarian efforts like hospitals, disaster relief, initiatives against racism, etc. However, how much does that sense of shared human dignity build on (and borrow from) Christian teachings? Followers of Jesus helped supply the critical mass for beginning all those benevolent efforts.
- If self is our ultimate concern, we end up selfish. If our family’s good is our highest concern, we will care less for other families. If our ultimate goal is the good of our nation, we will end up with nationalism. If we focus on the good of our race, we end up racists. Only Christianity gives an ultimate concern that encompasses the whole world in selfless love: a God who looks like Jesus, willing to love even those acting in rebellion.
- Awareness of being loved by God energizes us. The love we discover from God fills us with love that then spills over to others (1 John 4:19).
We should learn from those in our culture who have wisdom to share. But let’s never stop drinking deeply from our faith!