Do You Overlook the Flaws of Others?
One of the easiest things to find for many people is fault. There are a lot of fault-finders in the world. There’s always a critic. In fact, some people think criticism is more blessed to give than to receive.
Working with people is a wonderful blessing, but sometimes it gets rather interesting. People are going to be people, and we need to remember that people are not going to be perfect. Sometimes they don’t return phone calls, or show up when they are supposed to, or answer emails, or follow-through on what they say they’re going to do.
Some people have positive outlooks, and some never see a sunrise. Some are willing to go the second mile, while others get by with as little as possible.
I like the story of the little girl who came home from school proudly carrying a notebook full of school work. She climbed into her daddy’s lap and happily turned page after page marked with A’s in the right-hand corner. She was beaming.
Finally, she came to a page that was not as neat and there was no big “A” there. Her leaking pen had left two large blots in the middle of her work. Quickly, she put down two fingers – one to cover one blot and one to cover the other. She looked up into her father’s understanding eyes and pleaded, “please don’t see the blots.”
Not seeing the blots and being careful not to criticize are two ways we can strengthen our relationships with others. Henry Ward Beecher said, “Every man should keep a fair-sized cemetery in which to bury the faults of his friends.” If we wish to master the art of working with people, we need to overlook the faults and flaws of others. Often, it’s a matter of perspective and choice.
Retired pastor James Griffith tells about the old Missouri farmer, too old to farm, who passed the time sitting on the fence, watching travelers heading West during the 1800’s, seeking new opportunities and looking for a new life.
One day a wagon stopped and the rider shouted, “We’re moving West and looking for a place to settle. Tell me, how are the folks around here?”
“Well, how are the folks where you came from?” the old farmer asked.
The settler replied, “the folks in our town were the rudest, most unfriendly people we’ve ever known. How are the people around here?”
“Oh,” said the farmer, “about the same.”
A few days later another wagon came by and the driver asked the farmer the same question: “How are the people around here?”
Once again the farmer asked, “How are the folks where you came from?”
The settler said, “Why, they are the greatest people in the world. Warm, friendly, and generous. How are the folks around here?”
The old farmer replied, “Oh, about the same.”
People are about the same as we perceive them and about the same as we treat them. People are people, blots and all.
God loves them. Do we love them? Do we care about their needs? Do we show interest in their lives?
Interestingly, people are people wherever you go. No matter the church, no matter the office, no matter the classroom. Some people naively think that changing churches will bring satisfaction until they discover the flaws in their newest church. Why are there flaws? Because there are people. Imperfect people. Imperfect people that God still uses.
How many times did God use imperfect people in the Bible? Noah was a drunk; Abraham was really old; Jacob was a liar; Leah was ugly; Moses stuttered; Gideon was afraid; Samson was a womanizer; Rahab was a prostitute; Jeremiah and Timothy were too young; David was an adulterer and murderer; Jonah ran from God; John the Baptist ate bugs; Peter denied Christ.
The bottom-line is this. If you put your faith in people alone, you’ll often be disappointed. If you put your faith in Jesus, and care for people as Jesus did, you’ll find compassion and consistency, because Jesus never fails. With that consistency, you can overlook the inconsistency of others. And, in the power of God, you can love folks anyway, despite their imperfections.