Since the relationships on your Life Palette are the color God uses to paint the masterpiece of your life, it makes sense that He is the one to give you direction in how to develop and build healthy relationships through the living example of His Son.
1. See Potential
Now, you may be thinking Jesus was pretty harsh on some folks when He said things like “Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?” (Matthew 23:33) Christ did say those words, but it’s important to understand the context when He spoke to others so severely. The only times Jesus communicated in such a way was when He was speaking with the religious leaders who were leading people astray. He never spoke abrasively with those He knew and loved, or with those who were seeking to build a relationship with Him. Instead, Jesus always saw promise in others and developed relationships with them based on their potential. He changed Simon’s name to Peter (the “rock”) because Christ saw in Peter the potential to be someone of stability, a firm foundation to build upon; and ultimately he lived up to the name. Peter went from denying Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, to giving the inaugural message of the New Testament church. Jesus saw the colors of life in Peter when others may have seen grays.
2. Control Your Emotions
If harshness characterizes how you deal with your spouse, kids, boss, employees, or neighbors, know they probably see you as a dark gray on the canvas of their lives. More than likely they dread seeing or talking with you; your relationship with them is deteriorating, perhaps without you even realizing it. Most people tend to treat strangers better than those they love the most. I’ve seen this in action and I’m sure I’ve even acted this way on occasion; Dad gets frustrated with his kids and speaks harshly —and then his phone rings and the tone of his voice miraculously changes as he answers with a pleasant, “Hello”. He would never get away with this when speaking to a boss. This example shows how you can control your emotions and develop relational skills so God can paint your masterpiece with vibrant colors of life.
3. Communicate As A Servant
In addition to seeing potential, Jesus also communicated as a servant. He said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) You may protest, “But I don’t want to serve. I want to lead!” Yet there has never been a greater leader in this world than Jesus, and He said this about leadership: “The greatest among you must be a servant.” (Matthew 23:11)
My friend Virgil is a motivational speaker. He tells the story of a time when a corporation hired him to speak with their sales department. He was talking about how important being a servant is for successful relationships as salespeople; the better servant you are, the better your sales will be. He also said being a servant begins at home, and illustrated the point by describing how he would wake up each morning, before his wife, to make a pot of coffee. He didn’t even drink coffee; he was making the coffee just to serve her. Then he would take her a cup while she was still in bed. As Virgil spoke, one of the salespeople responded with disgust. “This is ridiculous,” the man said. “I didn’t come to hear about this kind of garbage. I want to learn how to have more sales.” Without missing a beat, Virgil responded, “I’m glad you said so, sir. You are going to help me prove my point.” He then asked if that man’s sales manager was in the room. Another gentleman raised his hand. Virgil said to the manager, “I’m willing to bet my pay that he is your worst salesman in this room.” The sales manager reluctantly acknowledged Virgil was right.
How could he know? Simple. “The greatest among you must be a servant,” and since this holds true, it follows “the worst among you would not be a servant.” Make a conscious choice for your Life Palette to follow the example of Jesus. Be a servant in how you act and communicate.
Begin To Build Your Relationships Today
Take a few moments and consider the relationships that you most want and need to build in your life. What can you do to build them today? Take action. Do you need to build by seeing potential? Perhaps the thing you can do to build relationships the most is to begin to control your emotions. What are some ways that you can communicate in your relationships as a servant, this is the best way to begin building your relationship.
(Adapted from book Life Palette, chapter 6)