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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 7:12’

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A friend and I enjoyed a bit of clearance shopping last week.  As she gleaned one rack, I gleaned another.  It was while scooting hangers left to right that a sweater fell to the floor. I bent over to pick it up and my sunglasses fell from their perch on my head. Quick as a wink, though, a nearby shopper (not my friend) retrieved them.

“Wow!” I exclaimed, taking back the sunglasses. “That has to be the fastest ‘pay it forward’ in history! Thank you!”

With a big smile for me, she returned to her shopping.

What a contrast to other shopping experiences, when someone has:

  • Bumped past me with her cart without an “Excuse me.”
  • Sauntered with two or three others down the middle of the parking lot lane, oblivious to the fact they’re holding up traffic.
  • Walked through a door I have held open without saying, “Thank you.”

Common courtesy seems to be disappearing from society, as some people have allowed the constant pursuit of self-interests to turn into self-absorption. Perhaps they think worrying about other people’s feelings is a waste of time and energy.   Others may see customs of politeness as downright archaic and puritanical.

The truth is, courtesy and consideration can do us a world of good. Research indicates that kind deeds release feel-good endorphins into our nervous systems. Benefits include diminished pain, decreased depression, and relieved stress. (1).

Of course, the Bible has taught the value of kindness all along (2).

 

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Yet some folks cringe at the thought of teaching scriptural principles to our children in school or holding ourselves to those standards. “Legalistic!” they claim.

But would it be so horrible if we:

  • Cheerfully greeted one another, even if we’re strangers?
  • Allowed others to enter a building or aisle first?
  • Held doors for one another?
  • Treated service personnel (clerks, wait staff, attendants, etc.) with friendly respect?
  • Said “thank you” at every opportunity?
  • Followed the Golden Rule that Jesus taught (Matthew 7:12)?

 

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Good manners are based on good principles; good principles are found throughout the Bible.

And Biblical principles not only provide positive impact on people (and our own nervous systems!), but may very well form the foundation of a strong nation:

 

“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws

will secure the liberty and happiness of a people

whose manners are universally corrupt.”

–American statesman, Samuel Adams (1722-1803)

 

So…

 

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Oh, Lord, help me leave footprints of kindness wherever I go, to live out your Golden Rule for the benefit of others and for the praise of your glory.  May others know I’m a Christian by the cross I wear and the love I share.

 

(1) Allan Luks, The Healing Power of Doing Good (2001).

(2) Examples include: Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 4:32, and 1 Peter 2:17.

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.allthingstarget.com; http://www.etsy.com; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.askideas.com.)

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“Take up one idea.  Make that one idea your life — think of it, dream of it, live on that idea.  Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone.  This is the way to success” — Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902).

Ever have a boss who seemed guided by this philosophy? He may not be familiar with the person who wrote these words (Swami was a Hindu monk.), but the same principles influence his decisions.

 

This kind of boss expects employees to work long hours to achieve his personal goals.  Ideas from others are not well accepted, because he is, after all, the expert.  He’s read all the books on management theory, marketing strategies, and profit maximization.  Suggestions are superfluous.

But, there is a new form of executive leadership garnering attention.  September’s issue of Sky Magazine ran an article, “The Enlightened Leader,” that highlights this innovative leadership model.   Workshops, webinars, even courses are available for training.

Included in the curriculum are these four topics:  1) Character , 2) Purpose, 3) Integrity, and 4) Values.

How ironic that business experts are returning to such ancient principles–Biblical principles.  For example:

1) A person of character is trustworthy, respectful, responsible, fair, and caring.  Someone with character pursues righteousness and love; then he finds life, prosperity, and honor (Proverbs 21:21).

2) A person of worthwhile purpose is not focused on the bottom line of the financial spreadsheet.  He/she takes to heart Paul’s advice:  “Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top.  Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.  Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.  Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (Philippians 2:3-4, The Message).

3) A person of integrity walks securely (Proverbs 10:9).  He’s not wishy-washy, making decisions based on what’s expedient for the moment.  “The integrity of the upright guides them” (Proverbs 11:3) to be wise and caring.

4) A person with moral values lives by an ethical code of behavior, summed up by Jesus in the Golden Rule.  “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).

It’s tempting to respond with a smug comment like, “It’s about time the experts came around to God’s way of handling business!”  Except…

…I still have character traits that need refinement.

…I do not live up to God’s purpose for me each day.

…Integrity still needs further development in my life.

…My choices do not always reflect my values.

It doesn’t matter if I am a leader of a large organization or a leader in my home.    I am called to have a positive effect within my circle of influence (Matthew 6:13-16).  And that circle is surprisingly wide when I include extended family, friends, neighbors, business associates, church acquaintances, etc.  In fact…

“…Sociologists say that even introverted people will influence an average of 10,000 people in their lifetime” (The Maxwell Leadership Bible by Dr. John C. Maxwell, p. x).

So what’s the first step toward success?

Perhaps commitment—commitment to God as a willing student in his course of leadership.  Commitment to prayer throughout the day, as choices present themselves.  And commitment to persevere toward wisdom, because:

“Blessed is the man who listens to me [wisdom], watching daily at my doors…For whoever find me finds life and receives favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 8:34-35).

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Thank You, Father, for the absolute truth of your word.  New ideas come and go, but your wisdom that leads us to success never fails.  Forgive me for the times I have ignored your word.  I want to be a woman of godly character, fulfilling your purpose with integrity, and reflecting your values.  That’s the kind of success that will provide lasting satisfaction and fulfillment in my soul.  Thank you for continuing to work on me.  Amen. 

(photo & art credits:  www.signsforyourlife.com, http://www.averyemployment.com, macondesigns.wordpress.com, http://www.signsforyourlife.com, calcuttaherald.wordpress.com.)

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