“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace-loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:17-18 NLT).
Every person you know is unique. Each one is a complex blend of background, temperament, and giftedness. Yet, these differences are often the root of relational conflict. Uniqueness poses all kinds of communication problems—so often we simply don’t understand each other! We may use the same words but with very different meaning.
We’re wise when we recognize and value the differences in people. Our uniqueness requires that we use wisdom in order to relate to others in customized ways, rather than relating to everyone with the same, rigid style, as if everyone will think and respond the same way.
The Bible tells us the characteristics of genuine wisdom: “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness” (James 3:17-18 LB).
From these verses we learn six ways to be wise when we relate to others. If I am biblically wise…
1. I will not compromise my integrity (wisdom is pure). I’ll be honest with you. I’ll keep my promises and commitments to you.
2. I will not antagonize your anger (wisdom is peace-loving). I’ll work at maintaining harmony. I won’t push your hot buttons.
3. I will not minimize your feelings (wisdom is courteous). I may not feel as you do, but I won’t ignore or ridicule how you feel.
4. I will not criticize your suggestions (wisdom allows discussion). I can disagree with you without being disagreeable.
5. I will not emphasize your mistakes (wisdom is full of mercy). Instead of rubbing it in, I’ll rub it out.
6. I will not disguise my motivations (wisdom is wholehearted and sincere). I’ll be authentic with you. I won’t con or manipulate you.