In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
Interaction dynamics between people is always interesting…different personalities mixing with other ones can be explosive, or dominating.
Even if we just look in our own families, there’s a wide, wide range of personalities. You have the hotheads, who are aggressive, and quick to blurt out inflammatory words. On the other end, you have the doormats, who will do just about anything to keep the peace, often at their own cost.
Neither extreme honors God. We’re not to just hotheadedly put ourselves over others, nor are we to back down when the just and righteous way is to speak up. The aggressive approach lacks the grace God gives us, and the doormat approach lacks the backbone He gives us.
In Paul Coughlin’s No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice–Instead of Good–Hurts Men, Women and Children (and yes, there’s also a No More Christian Nice Girl), the author talks first about how aggressive types, who are quick to speak and judge, may be outwardly truer to their feelings, but the value of their expression is dubious. Their manner also reflects narrowness of focus, rather than a broader scope of issues at play. (p. 161)
He then goes on to a fundamental misunderstanding for the doormat types:
They think the opposite of conflict is appeasement, which sometimes includes timid deception. The opposite of conflict actually is resolution, a process that demands bold truthfulness. (p. 162)
We need to look back to how Jesus walked and talked. In His brief public ministry here on earth, Jesus was no pushover, nor was he a brash blowhard. He acted boldly but lovingly, tempered by grace. And, He always spoke in the truth.
If we want change in our lives, we need to follow Jesus’ lead, to be assertive and bold, with grace. That is the true and loving way, following His walk. And when we do that, we’re getting out of our own way and letting God’s love flow through us and others around us. I want to live like that…Him through me, for His glory. Don’t you?