Most problems are people problems, from an article by Mark Leary professor of psychology from Duke university. He says self preoccupation lies at the heart of many of life’s difficulties. Lives are filled with many challenges that invoke personal struggles with things like doubt, worry and there are relationship problems and there are societal problems. A few problems - like hurricanes - people don’t cause, but human behavior is by far the single greatest cause of difficulties that each of us experience in life. The people who cause most of those problems are us. How can people be so intelligent and effective yet also so dysfunctional. What is wrong with people? Primarily it is the tendency to be excessively self- focused. Selfishness lies at the cause of most problems. Many conflicts in our personal lives come because people don’t do what we want them to, and vice versa.
The problem with people: There is a need for transformation, as the Bible talks about often in passages like Romans 12:1-2. That is not negotiable. Don’t be conformed to this world but be transformed in your mind, change your values and your focus. And also verse 3 says not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think.
You do not want a judgment day surprise. You need to know what your Creator needs from you.
If we are all indeed transformed as Romans 12 talks about there would be no people issues. But, alas, we have not all been, to the same degree. But also there is a difference between character and personality. Even if we have all had our character transformed our personalities will still be different. There was a sharp disagreement between Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15. There was no sin we read of, just a different opinion on how to handle the situation they found themselves in, due to their different personalities. Personalities are molded in the genetic code. We each have different tendencies, being extroverts or being more emotional, or being neater, for example.
There are people with great personalities that have a bad character. And there are people that are boring to be around but have outstanding character.
Back to our first thought - Selfishness is not a personality trait it is a matter of character. Question: what do we do about people we don’t like? In the church? Recommendations:
Remind yourself that the person you may not like is redeemable. There is something about them that is redeemable because Jesus died for them just like He died for me. Also Luke 6:31, just as you want people to treat you so are you to treat them. The Golden Rule. If there is someone in the church who doesn’t like you, how would you want them to treat you? This is the whole tenor of the OT. Upon this hangs the whole law and the prophets Jesus said.
Shame on us if we’ve never prayed for them, if we’ve never served them. And on that note, we should pray for every member.
We were called to be like Christ. We need to live differently than the world around us. Let's vow not to be the person other people have a problem with.