How does my behavior affect others? - Behavior - TouchPoints

How does my behavior affect others?

1 Samuel 20:34Jonathan left the table in fierce anger and refused to eat on that second day of the festival, for he was crushed by his father’s shameful behavior toward David.

The selfishness of poor behavior often hurts the people we love most. The story of Jonathan reminds us of the complications created by the negative ways we respond to others. Jonathan was caught between a father he honored and served (King Saul) and a friend he deeply admired (David). The fact that David consistently honored Saul as king made it even harder for Jonathan to accept his father’s treachery toward David. It speaks volumes about Jonathan that he never betrayed either his father or his friend as he navigated the enmity between them. He sailed with remarkable loyalty in treacherous waters.

Genesis 50:18-21His brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said. But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

Our behavior never happens in a vacuum or without context. Others affect us, we internalize their treatment for better or worse, and then we in turn affect others. We see this process acted out over decades in Joseph’s relationship with his brothers, and we notice the lessons he learned along the way. We don’t know how long it took for Joseph to move beyond the hurt of being betrayed by his brothers to a place where he could see God working in everything that happened, but we can clearly see the healing results.

Where we have been the cause of others’ pain, we must be willing to ask for forgiveness; where others have hurt us, we must be ready to forgive and willing to see ways God could bring good out of painful events.

John 13:34-35I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

Jesus told his disciples that the way they treated one another would be a powerful proof that they were his followers, and it would demonstrate that following Jesus really does change our lives. We never know just how many people are watching us as we seek to live for Christ.