Attitudes that Turn People Off
See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019
Attitudes that Turn People Off
Sermon by Thomas Thornhill Jr
LIGHTS IN A DARK WORLD (38)
As we continue our study of shining as lights, we have begun addressing some qualities that will help us let our light shine. We have talked about holiness (being holy) and serving others (a great gateway to possible opportunities to study and teach). In this lesson (and next week), we want to notice some attitudes that can help or hinder us as we let our light shine.
Attitudes are always important. Both Jesus and the NT writers (also OT writers) emphasized a proper disposition as we engage with others. It is implies with the numerous references to the heart (cf. Matthew 22:37-39). And it is a well know fact that one’s attitude and disposition can be a major factor in how others respond. There are those who we enjoy being around because of their positive disposition, and others we seek to avoid because of bad attitudes.
Attitudes that turn people off
- You don’t care about them – we HAVE TO CARE!
When you look at Jesus, He was one who took the time to care. He gave attention to those in need. The great invitation He offered reflects this – Matthew 11:28-30
1 Peter 5:7 – our confidence in God is there because He cares for us.
They perceive that they are bother, or just unimportant, etc. While for many, that you don’t care is no big deal because they think you are just going about doing whatever you need to do for yourself, the fact is they will not give you the time of day because of it. They will not be interested in your spiritual pursuits.
- Pride and arrogance – looking down on others. In general, people are not impressed with those who are full of themselves. They may put up with them, but it is an attitude that hinders us if we are trying to let the light of the gospel shine on them.
Matthew 7:1-5, this would have been the disposition condemned by Jesus when He spoke of how we judge.
This was the Pharisee in Luke 18:11-12.
the Bible continually condemns pride – Proverbs 21:4, A haughty look, a proud heart, And the plowing of the wicked are sin. Mentioned in the list of Romans 1:28-32 (vs. 30 – proud, boasters, etc.); 2 Timothy 3:1-2 – the list of selfishness (boasters, proud…)
- Prejudice – associated with our pride, people are turned off when they see you think less of them because of something they cannot control (and even some things they can) – skin color, ethnicity, social status, gender, etc. We must be careful to guard against prejudice.
Be reminded, that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34, Ephesians 6:9, etc.)
And we should not be either – 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 – Paul became all things to all men…
James 2:3-4 speaks of those who show partiality having become judges with evil thoughts.
And its worse today, as this has been brought to the forefront and even ill-defined in some instances. The point is, people are hyper-sensitive to such matters.
As we let our lights shine, we should work to ensure we are not alienating anyone for such reasons. NOTE: This is not saying we ignore sinful conduct.
- Constant criticism, complaining and negativity – be reminded that people do not like to be around those who are constantly finding fault and look at everything from a pessimistic viewpoint. Most people deal with enough garbage (include the worldly who have this attitude), they don’t need us, the professed believers, joining in.
James 5:9 says, “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned…” James 3:13-15- describes the earthly wisdom which comes from the devil – includes bitter envy and sel;f seeking in your hearts…
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking be put away – Ephesians 4:31
Philippians 2:14-15 – we are to do all things without complaining and disputing that we may let our lights shine in this crooked and perverse generation.
- Selfishness – we live in very selfish times. But most know it is not a good trait to possess IN OTHERS. Others notice when you are selfish, and they are turned off by it.
The Bible continually reminds us not to be selfish – Romans 2:8 warns those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth will face the indignation and wrath of God.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 – aptly describes the selfish attitude. It also describes the times we are living in.
ONE of the ways we can set ourselves apart, AND let our light shine, is by being unselfish toward others.
Philippians 2:4ff – begins by telling us to look out for the interests of others instead of ourselves. Paul then gives us the ultimate example of Unselfishness – Jesus.
- Hypocrisy and dishonesty – again, we live in a society filled with these traits. They see it so often in our political and community leaders. They deal with it in the workplace, school, society, on the internet and phone (e.g. telemarketers, advertisers, etc.). Sadly, to many it has been accepted as the norm. But it STILL is a harmful attitude.
BECAUSE, they see it so much in the world, they DON’T want to see it in the spiritual realm. That is why we must seek to be consistent and honest in all our dealings with others.
Jesus taught, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37. This is in a context dealing with oaths (keeping your word).
We are told that our conduct is to be honorable among the Gentiles to remove any occasion to blaspheme or criticize you as evildoers. 1 Peter 2:12.
2 Corinthians 8:21 speaks of providing things honorable, not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of men.
Again, Philippians 2:15 – we are to be blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation.
Be different – have integrity and honor in all your dealings.
- Being hateful – being mean spirited and doing things that are ugly toward others. We know what it is to be hateful and we don’t like being around such – spreading gossip, selfish driving habits, insults, lacking compassion, being unforgiving, etc.
Titus 3:3 associated this with the world and our FORMER conduct. Living in malice and envy, hateful and hating each other…
We must be aware that a single hateful act can do irreparable damage to future opportunities.
- Being superficial – not genuine. Akin to hypocrisy, this is one who is shallow. His service is lip-service or half-hearted. Again the world can see when something is not as real to us as we say.
This is found when we compromise, fail to put God and His kingdom first (choosing the world), etc.
We know that we are expected to be genuine.
Timothy was commended for his genuine faith (2 Timothy 1:5 – first in his mother and grandmother).
1 Peter 1:7 speaks of the genuineness of our faith must be found to praise, honor and glory.
If the world sees that something is NOT really that important to you, what chance will you have of convincing them to follow what you are saying.
Think about it in the world? Who would rather listen to for advice in any area – someone who says they know what to do but nothing more, or someone who is living it? (E.g. – financial advice from someone that is broke or in debt; dietary advice from someone who has not applied it; etc.) The same is true spiritually. They want to see Christ living in you!
The Pharisees – A study in how NOT to act
- Who were they? The Pharisees were a sect of the Jews that originated (with other sects) following return from Babylonian captivity. After centuries of rebellious idolatry, God sent Judah to 70 years of captivity in Babylon. That captivity cured the Israelites of their hunger for idols.
After the return, many of the Jews took measures to ensure they would be following God. Enter the various sects.
The Pharisees were the strictest and largest sect of the Jews. Their goal was to ensure that God’s law (The Torah) was interpreted and applied strictly. From this came a commentary that outlined how to keep the Law of Moses (called the Mishna – a collection of the oral traditions). It was this set of laws that Jesus dealt with during His ministry on earth.
- What was NOT condemned? It is important to understand that when the Pharisees began, their intentions were noble – to properly understand and apply the Law of God (e.g. the Law of Moses). They just took it too far.
What you do NOT find in the teachings and interaction of Jesus with the Pharisees (and other Jewish leaders) was a condemnation for their strict keeping of the LOM. ( E.g. Matthew 23:23 – these things you OUGHT to have done.)
He did not condemn their zeal for God, but their misplaced zeal.
We are sometimes called Pharisaical (even by our own brethren when we dare to ask, “Where’s the authority?”) because we teach that we must follow God’s law as exact as possible. We call this authority! It is a misunderstanding of what Jesus condemned.
- What did Jesus condemned about them? In short, Jesus condemned the following about them:
Their hypocrisy – they bound the Law of Moses on others, but their actions were inconsistent
Their prejudice (CF. John 7:49) – the way they looked down upon others, including fellow Jews.
Their binding of their oral traditions (opinions) – adding to or loosening God’s laws. Making what He taught stricter or looser that what the law actually taught.
Their arrogance and self-righteousness – thinking they were better than everyone else.
Their corruption – many decisions they made were self-serving and greedy. They would take advantage of others, including widows and the poor (Matthew 23:14)
Their outward show and desire for praise from men – dressing to distinguish themselves from others
- Others could be added to these – but can you see in this description an attitude that would cause men to despise them? These are the types of attitudes that turn men off, and we are to AVOID such in our lives.
Our point in this lesson is to remind us that we ought to be concerned with the light of Christ (and the gospel) that is shining within us. That is how we are going be afforded opportunities to teach others. AND it is how we will make our society a better place. What about you What type of disposition do others see in you?