People matter

th-21We started off this week being reminded that God wants us to get along in the world surrounded by people we know, not labels and categories. The issue is not abortion as much as it is Alison. The issue is not homosexuality as much as it is Larry. And for the last two days, the issue has not been suicide, but Robin Williams.

So how appropriate it was that on our BlogTalkRadio show this week, our guest would be Marshall Snider of Bridgetown Inc., a relational ministry to people in downtown Portland, Oregon with the mission statement: Loving People because People Matter. Now that is one of the best mission statements I have heard. It’s a mission statement we should all adopt because it works anywhere. It doesn’t just work downtown, it works uptown, around town, any town.

People matter. One of the greatest things we can do in the world is let people know that.  It’s simple enough.

How do you make people around you feel that they matter? We’d love to hear back from you some stories that will help us all do this better, but here are just a few things to get us started. They are all common sense things, but easily missed if we’re not consciously aware of them.

Notice people. This is probably the most obvious and the most overlooked. We all walk around, even in a crowd, surrounded by our own cocoons of isolation; and now, with cell phones, the shells have gotten even thicker. You have to break your own cocoon to notice someone else, and you’ll have to break theirs in some way if you want to get through.

Listen to people. Listening is probably the greatest art in making people feel that they matter. I can’t think of anyone who does not want to be heard. Listening is simply saying “What you have to say right now is important to me.” And remember – listening is active involvement and not just waiting to talk.

Get interested in the things that interest others. Sometime this happens naturally because we all have shared likes and dislikes, but sometimes it will take some effort on our part to do this when we don’t. Marti sometimes plays like she is interested in baseball only to give me the opportunity to talk about something that happened in today’s game. Last night was Women of Vision’s turn to treat the Isaiah House women without homes to an Angels game. Now that interests her. (So I get to talk about how they won, even if Marti doesn’t care!)

Stop listening to yourself! Do you talk to yourself? I do, especially when I’m alone. I love this because I always find someone intensely interested in the conversation. If you want to have a real conversation with someone else, however, you have to stop the conversations going on in your own head.

Bottom line, you just have to get out of yourself. I’ve found out that when I really do this and get interested in someone else, the conversation is much more intriguing than the one I would have had.

Why do we do all this? Because people matter. They matter big time to God — He died for them — and that ought to be enough to get us interested … big time.

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9 Responses to People matter

  1. Kevin Krabbenhoft says:

    Does anyone hear the chorus to John’s new single on Christian Radio !! “it works anywhere… downtown, it works uptown, around town, any town.”

    Chef Ramsey counseled a hotel owner that she would do much better if she would make each hotel guest “feel like the star of the show”

  2. Mark S. says:

    Liked today’s Catch and got a lot out of it too. It reminded me of the good saying: “God gave me two
    ears and one mouth for a good reason – to listen more than I talk.:

  3. johnhaak says:

    My example is a friend that had a concern/criticism that she expressed to me one week. I listened. The next week she was watching our kids for us and I picked them up. So I asked her if she had anymore thoughts on the issue. I listened. Later she told me that the fact that I followed up with her was “the best thing any pastor has ever done for me.” Of course, I did this by accident in the circumstances so I take very little credit, but it came to mind with your words today. Follow-up fits in there somewhere.

  4. One of the ways I have changed in the way I relate to people is I have abandoned the need I felt to save everyone. I listen and accept. It has been much easier for others to accept my faults when I am honest and non judgemental. This leads to deeper sharing and honest exchange. I receive light and I hope I share light. I can share the struggle of my spiritual journey yet share the importance of my faith. I don’t hide my faults nor do I hide my faith. People know they matter when you give them time and when you listen.

  5. Kevin Krabbenhoft says:

    It just occurred to me that Jesus did not pray for the woman at the well in John 4 but he did Notice, Listen, and Get interested. Does anyone have a list of people who Jesus did not pray for? The couple who needed wine at their wedding is one example where Jesus met a practical need but did not pray for them directly….. Jesus listened before he “spoke words of healing and encouragement” to the woman at the well and the man at the pool of Bethesda.. Lately I have found myself almost anxious to pray when I discover a person’s needs (especially complete strangers). My wife compares me to how a Golden Retriever acts when people walk into a home. Being a guy I also have a tendency to want to fix things. One of the comments above praised “follow up”. For some reason I got to a place where I saw prayer as the ‘end all’ and lost sight of “follow up”. The blind man from birth in John 9 did not get to “know” his redeemer until Jesus “followed up”. Notice – Listen – Get interested – Follow up. I have learned over the years that my wife (my bride) will need me to listen more often than try to fix it. I believe that same rule may be true since we minister to the “Bride” of Christ. I am not going to stop praying for strangers but given how the scriptures above came to light, I intend to do more listening and waiting and sometimes even follow up before I “light the fuse.” Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me… bless His holy name.

  6. Frank says:

    How do you make people around you feel that they matter? – Lord willing -i’ll have the opportunity to tell them the truth. Not just as much as i think they can stand, or as much as i have time to – but the whole. Not just about what i see as “wrong” with them OR myself – but the Whys. If someone thinks i am worthy of the why they think as they do, and trust me w all that is ‘our life’ relationship… man, am i worthy…

  7. The ONE UNSTOPPABLE Weapon is Love..It Trumps Tongues of a message from GOD we call Prophesy..Outdoes and OutLasts Faith which will engage in “Things” of The SPIRIT..Said in it’s Simplest Form, True Love is an Aura of GOD HIMSelf in us coming out, going thru walls and barriers, getting behind someone’s shield, and saying, “You are Important, You Count, The LORD GOD IN me Recognizes your worth..and it invites a Reciprocation.
    That Reciprocation Undoes what was Done to GOD. Cain said..LORD, I’ve got such a walk with you, as Adam my Father taught me, and YOU Amened so many times, YOU can show up at my door and Councel me about Mastering Sin, but I still want to do what I want, and killing is not off my chart of possibilities if it reminds me of my failures.. LOVE SAYS: NOW See if you are Willing to Return what was just delivered to you from me. I gave without thought of what it would cost me, and I’m in on this relationship called Life..Will you be brave enough to come out of your shell and Reciprocate?
    If we will ALL Bravely LOVE, we can reverse the Curse of Doctrinal Division..Believe what you are Growing in and Do it with all your Might unto The LORD, but Keep LOVE as the Greatest Doctrine, and we all ride the Chariot together Right up to The THRONE..
    Seymour, your brother..Summerville, SC..

  8. Peter Leenheer says:

    It is good to love people without expecting anything in return. The return is the recipient blossoms. It is good to see people respond to love in this fashion.

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