I wanted to share with y’all a conversation that I had with Melissa, my assistant. You know me as far as how I feel about people. I was in Mike Murdock this morning, and he was talking about how you know your assignment based on what you are passionate about. It’s by no surprise that I am passionate about people. I am passionate about understanding people, studying people, learning about people, you name it.
If you think about people - and I want you to walk this out today - I want you to think through people who maybe have caused you to be mystified for a minute. Or maybe people who have caused you to think, what is happening? There’s celebrating, there’s tolerating, there’s reality, people are people, we can’t get away from people, yet we love people, life is really all about people because we’re all better together, and we understand The Word always tells us not to live a life alone, but to live a life together, right? So I want to live a life in relationship with people, but yet you always have to protect your heart when it comes to people.
Sometimes you guys we have to sit back and we have to watch and we have to analyze people because here’s what bothers us the most about people: it’s not the behavior, it’s not what they did, it’s WHY. It’s the things that we can’t rationalize in our brains that bother us the most. So I had this huge conversation with Melissa yesterday. She is walking through some stuff, and I said, “Here’s the thing. Listen. When we stop thinking that people’s behavior is really truly what is irritating us, we start to fall in love with people and realize that it’s their mindset behind the behavior is what really bothers us the most.
So for instance, when somebody’s behavior doesn’t make sense to us, we can either take offense to it and we can make it all about me, me, me, and me. Or we can just press in a little bit more and think, I want to understand why you do that. What about you causes you to behave that way? Because we all know that we behave out of a root of behavior. So I said to Melissa, “It’s kind of like when you see on the News that a mom drowned her three children, the drowning isn’t really what bothers you. It’s the mindset. It’s the ‘what were you thinking? What is going on in your brain that you would be okay to think that you could do something like that?’ Or when you see these videos start to go viral of people beating old people. I don’t want to watch the beating for starters, but #2, most importantly, what is going on in your brain? Help me understand.”
That’s what I want you guys to walk out. Even during the holidays. You’re going to be surrounded by people, you’re going to be surrounded by your family. Instead of choosing offense and instead of having people pinned to the cross because of their behavior, begin to really press in and think, I wonder what you’re thinking. What in your brain is allowing you to believe that’s okay? When we understand that, it becomes about them and not about us. It gives us a heart of grace. It gives us a heart of forgiveness. It gives us a heart of understanding.
I know for me, I always say nobody gets more hate mail than me, nobody gets made fun of more than me, nobody gets talked about more than me, nobody gets posted about more than me. Nobody. Why? Their thinking is different than mine. Their thinking I have to understand. It has nothing to do with me at the end of the day. Nothing. What we want to do is we want to focus on people’s behavior, but the thinking is what creates the behavior. We’ve got to remember that. We have got to remember that people’s thinking, their very best thinking, creates their behavior. Good, bad, or ugly. What we can never do is change a behavior, right? That goes back to the breaking bad vs. breaking self. Until people really want to break self you guys, you just have to smile your way through it. You’ve got to think to yourself, you know, I don’t understand. I don’t know what’s in your brain. I don’t know why you think that that’s okay. However, your very best thinking is creating this conversation, even as we speak.
So here’s the good news: we cannot walk out in a life where we’re better together with people and think that we’re going to change people. We can’t change people. But we can change where we are tolerated or celebrated. We can change how we respond to people’s thinking. We’re not responding to behavior, we’re responding to thinking. Without going into what’s going on, I said to Melissa, “Listen, here’s the reality. When you can understand that people truly have a genuine heart, but the Bible says ‘as a man thinks, so is he.’ So how we think resolves in our heart. How we process our hearts is how we behave.”
But remember always, at the end of the day, we can’t hold people accountable all the time for their behavior until we’re willing to understand their thinking. I want to understand your thinking so that I can understand your behavior. Because it’s not behavior that bothers me, it’s the brain behind the behavior. It’s the mindset behind the behavior. It’s the thinking that came as a result of your behavior.
As we walk out in the holidays, as you’re out shopping, as you’re standing in line with people, as you’re making your plans and everyone’s in offense, as you’re doing all of that, just sit and think, I wonder what you’re thinking vs. I can’t believe how she’s behaving. Because if you can’t get to the thinking, you’ll never ever change the behavior. Think about that with YOU today. If you, friends, can’t change your thinking, your behavior will not change. Don’t only apply it to others, but apply it to yourself too. So let’s all think, re-think, re-think, and then behave, alright?