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Handling People Who Don’t Seem to Try

       Do you ever have people around you who are frustrating or disappointing to you?  Do you resent how their choices and lifestyle affect you?  I think this, of course, is true for most of us.

       Some time ago I was reading a book by Brene Brown in which she asks the question, “Do you generally think that people are doing the best they can?”  I immediately said to myself, “Of course not, the world if full of slackers!”  But Brene then proceeds to say that her past research showed that participants who answered “no” were also people who struggled with perfectionism and expected more of others perhaps than they did themselves at times.

       Brene said that we often view the world to be made up of basically two kinds of people:

Type 1 People —Those of us who try our very best, follow the rules, and are respectful. 

Type 2 People —Others of the world who don’t try their best and who take advantage of people.

         She encouraged her readers to choose to believe that other people are doing the best they can, and said that life would be better for us if we believe that there are often reasons why people disappoint us.  If we believe they are doing their best, it will keep us out of judgment and let us focus on what is, and not what should or could be.

         Jesus also taught us to be forbearing toward others.  Forbearance is exercising restraint in punishment and vengeance.  Phil 4:5 says, “Let your gentleness (or reasonableness) be known to all men.”  And Paul said, “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” (1 Thess. 5:14).

Paul told us to “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (Col. 3:12-14).  Obviously, people do not always try to do their best, but it probably would help us to choose to assume they do and give them the benefit of the doubt.

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