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Just a Dab of Honey

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    “Just a dab of honey would make it a lot nicer.” I guess I could’ve used the Mary Poppins line, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” But, it’s not really medicine that I’m talking about. I want us to think about the type of people we are, and the attitude we demonstrate in our daily lives.

    My first acquaintance with this concern arose when a Christian restaurant manager came to me with a very frustrating situation. He was trying to witness to his co-workers, but he had a huge problem. The rudest and most demanding customers his wait staff encountered were the Sunday lunch crowd coming to eat after church.

    I was surprised and unsure of his criticism, so I asked several folks in our congregation who are experienced waiters to give me feedback. They unanimously and forcefully confirmed this observation. OUCH! I didn’t like hearing that. But, as I’ve traveled around and shared this observation, others who have been employed as wait staff have all confirmed this observation.

    I don’t know how you feel about that, but it makes me sad. Why would Jesus’ followers have a reputation for being rude, demanding, and ugly? Unfortunately, I’ve been on the receiving end of it myself. At Heartlight, we get hundreds of e-mails each day. Ninety-nine percent of those responses are positive, encouraging, and supportive. But every-once-in-a-while, we get a note that is incredibly rude and demanding. Since we are a non-profit organization, we don’t charge for any of our services, and are doing this without salaries or remuneration, it seems a bit sad that some folks could be so ugly for something they get for free. But a few are. I understand how my restaurant friends feel.

“What can we do about this?”
    But, before I get too high and mighty with my concern, I must also admit that I have been guilty of this kind of beastly behavior. So the question we all must ask is, “What can we do about this?”

    I believe there are three essential strategies that we must employ if we are going be the kind of influence Christ wants us to be.

    First, let’s remember that having a positive influence on others is not something that is optional for us. We are to be a blessing to others and a positive representative for Jesus. Jesus told us to be salt and light to a world of decay and darkness (Matthew 5:13-15). Paul told us to carefully choose our words, especially around unbelievers, so that we can have a positive influence on them (Colossians 4:4-5). Peter reminded Jesus’ disciples how important it is to speak with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). Developing a winsome personality, a kind demeanor, and a pleasant approach to people is not an option for us; it is the Lord’s will!

    Second, let’s remember the Golden Rule as we relate to others. This simple approach to life helps us think of others first. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” must be more than a plaque on our wall, it must be the key thread in the fabric of our lives.

    Third, let’s intentionally put a dab of honey in our speech and on our behavior when we are around others, especially unbelievers. Our goal is not just to be nice, but to be redemptive. Our joy is not getting our way or asserting our rights, but in bringing others closer to Jesus and bringing glory to God.

    I believe the Christian hymn that Paul used to make his point to the Philippians (2:5-11) is just what we need to remember:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
  did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
  taking the very nature of a servant,
  being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
  he humbled himself and became obedient to death
  — even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
  and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
  in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
  to the glory of God the Father.

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A full archive of past articles by Phil Ware is maintained. Access recent articles And the Grasshopper Got Away, Significance, and dozens more.
See Also...
Related Heartlight Resources:
A Bucket of Kindness
Walkin' in My Boots
Because of Who You Are

About the Author...
Phil Ware is minister of the Word at Westover Hills Church of Christ in Austin, Texas. For the past 4 years, he has also been co-editor of HEARTLIGHT Magazine. For more details, click here.

Title: "Just a Dab of Honey"
Author: Phil Ware
Publication Date: April 18, 2000



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