Attitudes that Win People
See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019
Attitudes that Win People
Sermon by Thomas Thornhill Jr
LIGHTS IN A DARK WORLD (39)
We are in the midst of a brief examination of some things we should consider and do as we strive to let our lights shine in this dark world. We have addressed holiness (setting ourselves apart for God), serving others (the practical things we can do to let them know we care), and last week we addressed some attitudes that turn people off (such as uncaring, hypocrisy, pride & arrogance, selfishness, constant criticism and negativity, wrongful judging and prejudice, dishonesty and hatefulness. We briefly looked at the Pharisees and what Jesus condemned about them – basically the above types of qualities that turn people away.
Today, we want to approach this study from the other side. We want to address some qualities that could increase our opportunities to teach them, and make the world around us a better place.
Attitudes people appreciate
- Kindness – a word that means to be warmhearted and considerate of others. It is a quality that all appreciate, though so might take advantage of it.
it should go without saying that Christians ought to be kind to others – treat them with respect and goodness.
We are the recipients of the kindness of God – Ephesians 2:7 speaks of God showing us “the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus”, Titus 3:4 speaks of the kindness and love of God appearing to us – affording us salvation.
Many passages call for us to be kind – 1 Corinthians 13:4 – Love suffers long and is kind.
It is a fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23
Colossians 3:12, as the elect of God we are to put on tender mercies, kindness, etc.
And it is something that is manifested in the way we treat each other as brethren – Romans 12:10 – be kindly affectionate…, etc. E.g. “Brotherly kindness” (or brotherly love) – 2 Peter 1:7.
Kindness is a universal language – people recognize it everywhere. It is a quality of one that people like to be around. It is an attitude that can disarm people and put them at ease. It is demonstrated in our demeanor, our actions AND our words. Consider, when we speak to others, do we show them kindness, especially when we are dealing with less than ideal circumstances? If we care, we will pursue kindness with others.
- Self-control – we see so much impulsive actions today. AT least that is what is reported. And anyone who has interacted with the public has seen someone lose their temper. There are those who show no restraint in their habits – be it money, food, social media and entertainment, etc.
As we have noted, every sin we commit involves self-control.
Recently, I heard a sermon where the preacher noted, the real you is seen when you are in a stressful situation.
We are called upon to exercise it – 2 Peter 1:5-7, cf. 1 Corinthians 9:27 – Paul disciplined his body.
We are to be temperate. Be angry and do not sin – Ephesians 4:26 – a specific example.
It is refreshing to see someone exercise restraint before responding, whether it be actions or words. It shows others that what you are doing is deliberate and thought out.
It most certainly is a way to let your light shine. You are in control and are not going to do or say something to damage your character.
- Patience – do we demonstrate our understanding that people make mistakes and at times are simply unfamiliar with what is going on? Others just think and act differently. Think about this when driving. You are behind someone going to slow (in your estimation) or makes some minor traffic infraction. While we know by actions that some are acting selfishly, others may be doing their best – e.g. they don’t really know where they are (think of LAX).
People say things that we might think is the height of ignorance, but maybe they really don’t understand something, or WE don’t understand them. Are we patient with them as we try to teach and correct?
Think of how Aquila and Priscilla corrected Apollos. Acts 18:25-26.
The Bible calls for us to be patient – again 2 Peter 1:5-7.
1 Corinthians 13:4 – the FIRST quality of love mentioned, “Love suffers long” – that is special type of patience.
2 Timothy 2:24 – Paul described the servant of the Lord – he must be patient.
Romans 12:12 finds us patient in tribulations.
“Patience is a virtue” that all appreciate. It is a quality of the light we are to be shining, and an attitude that can help us as we seek to share God’s word with others.
- Humility – last week, we addressed pride and arrogance as ungodly qualities. Humility is the opposite – it is one who with meekness views himself and others properly. He doesn’t think he is greater than he is AND he doesn’t look down on others.
And he acts with humility. Recall how Jesus reminded us that we are to be servants – Matthew 20:26, whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant. Also Paul used Jesus as an example of this to us (Philippians 2:3-8)
1 Peter 5:5-6 describe this quality.
Even if you have the truth, people don’t like being talked down to or feeling inferior to someone (of thinking the one talking THINKS he is superior to them).
- Integrity – one who stands by his convictions with honesty and soundness. It describes one who when tested doesn’t fall apart or compromise his convictions. I associate this with “virtue” in 2 Peter 1:5. Some describe that term as moral excellence.
People are often let down by leaders and others who make promises but fail to follow through, OR they see self-serving decisions, even in the business world. Far too many just don’t have any integrity.
Christians are to be people of integrity and honor. Titus 2:7 – instructions to younger men (and all) – they show integrity in doctrine (and in every area).
Things that are true, noble, just, and virtuous are what we ought to “meditate on” (Philippians 4:8)
Our word ought to mean something! James 5:12 tells us (as did Jesus), “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’, ‘no’, lest you fall into judgment.
Ephesians 4:25 tells us we are to speak truth to our neighbors. This is only 1 area where we find lives of integrity.
One who swears to his own hurt Psalm 15:4 – a description of the one who desires to abide in the presence of God.
Again consider 1 Peter 2:12 speaks of our conduct being honorable among the Gentiles – to remove opportunity for them to condemn
People want to know that you are genuine and really believe what you say. And this needs to be more than “the facts”. They want to see in you that what you stand by is well thought out and thus an educated conviction (as opposed to “I think”). When you stand by God’s word with integrity, you are letting your light shine.
- Optimism & positivity – encouraging words, seeing the good in them. In contrast to the criticism and constant complaining we addressed last week, Christians ought to be upbeat, hopeful, confident and joyful as we look at life.
We ought to believe that God is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4); that while we cannot control everything that happens in this life, God is in control and can preserve us. That is why we are optimistic.
Sadly, we live in hopeless times that can easily cause us to be discouraged and even depressed. Many are, because all they see is the world and no hope beyond. As we let our light shine, let them see hope. Let them see that we are rejoicing in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4).
AND, let us look for the good in others and in situations. 1 Corinthians 13:6 – believe all things. We should give the benefit of the doubt and have confidence in people (until they prove otherwise).
This doesn’t mean there are not times of discouragement and negativity, but it ought not be our DEFAULT disposition. If people see that you have hope for them, they might be more likely to listen.
- Matthew 7:12 – our conduct summarized
- There are many passages of scripture that give us lists of qualities that manifest the Christian’s life and attitude – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a – what love looks like; 2 Peter 1:5-7 – building upon our faith with virtue and the like; Galatians 5:22-23 – the fruit of the Spirit; Philippians 4:8 – the types of qualities we need to meditate upon; James 4:17 which describes the wisdom from above (Pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and hypocrisy. If we do these things it is likely our attitude will be what it ought to be, and we will have more opportunities to shine our light before others.
- In the Sermon on the Mount, as Jesus began to summarize, He gave what we call the “golden rule”. It is a good rule to go by. Just ask how you would like to be treated in a given circumstance, and treat them like that. That can go a long way in winning others.
By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it gives us an idea of the type of disposition that will do good. These are the types of qualities that people expect in professed Christians, and they NEED to be part of our lives.
It is the types of qualities that will help us to become “blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” And who knows where it might lead? What type of attitude to you have?