by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
A. No man is an island
1. We cannot exist alone. We are in constant need of contact with other people.
2. In order to get along in this world, we must get along with others.
B. As Christians, our main purpose should be to bring more souls to Christ
1. How can we accomplish this mission if we don’t get along with people?
2. Can we win souls if those who see us find the brethren cannot get along with themselves?
C. Our Lord taught us to be diplomat
1. Matthew 10:16
a. We are sheep amid wolves
b. Therefore, we are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
II. Always say less than what you think. Speak your truth quietly and clearly. How you say something often counts more than what you say.
A. Proverbs 17:27-28
1. Wisdom is found in using few words.
2. Even a fool can appear to be wise and understanding when he does not speak.
3. You are more likely to say something wrong if you use many words - Proverbs 10:19
4. Our words can snare us - Proverbs 6:2
5. Don’t be rash in what you say, take time to think, and consider the result of what you are about to say.
a. Ecclesiastes 3:7 - There is a time to speak and a time to be silent
B. Speak so others can understand you
1. Ecclesiastes 9:17
a. Note that a quietly spoken word is more apt to be considered than loud words.
b. I’m likely to reject what someone says if he is shouting at me.
c. How can you reflect on a person’s words with all that noise going on?
2. We cannot convert someone if we shout at him.
3. We should be slow to anger - James 1:19-20
a. Similarly, we should be slow to raise our voices.
C. How we comment on a matter is important.
1. Could you bring a soul to Christ if we shout “You’re going to hell if you don’t repent!”?
a. There are rare times when someone needs to be awaken from their complacency
b. However, it is not a good, general approach
2. James 3:2 - A perfect man, which we should all strive to be, does not give offense with his words.
3. Colossians 4:6
a. Next time, think before your tongue leaps.
b. A word fitly spoken is a priceless thought - Proverbs 25:11
III. Make your promises sparingly and keep them faithfully, not matter what it costs you.
A. Ecclesiastes 5:4-5
1. If you doubt you are able to accomplish something, don’t promise to do it.
B. Christ said “Let your yay be yay and your nay be nay.” - Matthew 5:37
1. A Christian’s word should be worth more than gold.
2. If you have told someone that you will do something, then do it – no matter what it costs you.
3. Psalms 15:4 - Keep it, even when it hurts
C. How would you like it if the Lord was as slack concerning His promises as you are with your promises?
1. For example, what if the Lord forgot to prepare a place in heaven for you?
2. Thankfully, the Lord is not slack concerning His promises - II Peter 3:9
3. So what about your promises?
D. But . . . what if I didn’t really mean it?
1. Judges 11:30-39
2. Jephthah rashly vowed to sacrifice the first thing that met him if he returned safely from battle with a victory. He did win and his daughter, his only child, greeted him. As painful as it was, Jephthah kept his promise.
E. But . . . what if the promise was made under trickery?
1. For example, you promise to pay for a car and discover later that it is a junk heap.
2. Joshua 9:3-27
a. A promise was made to an enemy nation because of deceit on the enemy’s part. Even after the truth was discovered, Israel kept their word.
b. We too should keep our word. Perhaps next time you will think twice before committing yourself.
3. I Corinthians 6:6-8 - It is better to let yourself be defrauded.
IV. Never let an opportunity pass to say a kind and encouraging thing to or about someone. Praise good work done, regardless of who did it. If criticism is needed, then do it helpfully – not spitefully.
A. Proverbs 12:25 - A kind word or a compliment really makes a person’s day. It makes the load of cares born seem lighter.
B. Even the Lord told Paul to be of good cheer - Acts 23:11
C. Spiritual Exercise - Pick out someone who is down or discouraged and encourage him.
D. Spiritual Exercise - Pick out someone you don’t like (not someone you like – that is too easy), find something good to say about him, and tell him.
E. Sometimes criticism is necessary, but do so with an attitude to help and not hurt.
1. Spiritual Exercise - Ask yourself why am I criticizing? Is it to help or to hurt?
2. Ecclesiastes 7:5 - The rebuke from the wise is better than the song of fools (those glad to criticize).
3. Galatians 6:1 - Restore the lost with gentleness
4. When receiving criticism, accept it graciously and don’t get your dander up - Proverbs 25:12
V. Be interested in others’ pursuits, their welfare, their homes and families. Let everyone you meet, however humble, feel that you regard him as one of importance.
A. This is not a license for becoming busybodies.
B. Romans 12:15 - Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.
C. Sharing life’s burden helps to make the load lighter and the time to pass quicker - Galatians 6:2
1. Notice though that your brothers and sisters are not mind readers.
2. Burdens cannot be shared if they are not known.
D. Philippians 2:3
E. James 1:19 - Be swift to hear.
1. It is a pleasure to have some listen to you – to truly take an interest in what you are saying.
2. It makes you feel that you are important in their eyes. It is a compliment – a compliment given without saying a word.
VI. Keep a cheerful attitude. Hide your pains, worries, and disappointments under a smile.
A. We have the greatest reason to be happy – our trust in the Lord - Proverbs 16:20
B. John 16:33
1. We have many troubles in this world, but if you start feeling sorry for yourself, everyone else will stop.
C. Merriment and laughter is the best medicine for quickly healing hurts and pains. - Proverbs 17:22
VII. Preserve an open mind on all debatable questions. It is not who is right, but what is right. Discuss but do not argue. One can disagree without being disagreeable.
A. The Bereans received the Word from Paul with a ready mind - Acts 17:11
1. Just because you believed one way all your life doesn’t necessarily mean your belief is right.
B. The Bereans checked to see what was right.
1. Romans 14:1 - Warns against doubtful disputations
2. If the Scriptures leave an area open, the acknowledge it. For example, the time for worship on sundays is not set, so we should not be dogmatic about a particular time.
C. II Timothy 2:24-25
1. A Christian should not argue.
2. I Peter 3:15 - Answer with meekness and fear
3. Too many are more interested in hearing the roar of the canon than winning the battle.
a. A person convinced against his will is still of the same opinion.
b. You may have won a confrontation, but you lost the war.
D. Proverbs 15:1 - A soft answer will turn away wrath.
1. It is difficult to be angry with a quiet spoken person. Quiet answers removes the steam from behind their words and leaves you to just discuss the facts.
2. We should try to live peacefully with all men - Proverbs 12:18
3. Jesus warned we should settle disputes quickly before they wind up in a court of law - Matthew 5:25
VIII. Let your virtues speak for themselves and refuse to talk of others’ idiosyncracies. Discourage gossip. Speak well of one another.
A. Matthew 23:12 - By humbling yourself, you will be exalted by others.
1. Few people enjoy the company of a boastful person.
2. Part of the evil days is men are lovers of themselves - II Timothy 3:2
B. Proverbs 17:9 - Keep friends by keeping the secrets entrusted to you.
C. Proverbs 25:9-10
1. If you have a disagreement with someone, don’t take it to a third party.
a. What if you have your facts wrong?
b. What if you tales reach the ears of the one you are talking about?
c. Wouldn’t relationships be strained?
2. Matthew 18:15-18
D. Why people gossip.
1. People gossip to bring someone down as low as they can get them. Then, when they are compared to them either directly or by implication, the gossiper looks so much better.
2. Instead, we should compare ourselves with Christ. The result si humbleness and not pride.
E. How to stop the urge to gossip:
1. Spiritual Exercise: Before talking about someone, make it pass through these three gates:
a. Is it true?
b. Is it needful?
c. Is it kind?
2. Refuse to listen to ill-natured remarks about someone.
3. Proverbs 26:20 - Removing talebearing end strife.
F. Our conversations should be edifying to those around us. They should encourage others to better themselves. - Ephesians 4:29
1. Spiritual Exercise: The next time that a person’s name, whom you don’t like, comes up in a conversation, mention a good thing about him to the people around you.
IX. Be careful of another’s feelings. Wit, humor, or a sly remark at another’s expense may hurt where it is least expected.
A. Once again, treat other people better than yourself - Philippians 2:3-4
1. Consider their feelings.
B. It is wise to watch what you say, especially about other people.
1. Matthew 12:36-37 - We will give an account of every idle word which we speak.
2. What if our idle words have injured another?
C. This is not to say that Christians lack humor, but think carefully before you joke. Make sure you humor is not at the expense of another.
X. Pay no attention to ill-natured remarks about you. Simply live so that no one will believe them.
A. Matthew 5:11-12
1. In a way, it is a compliment if someone thinks you need to be brought down to his level.
B. I Peter 3:13-16
C. II Corinthians 3:2 - People read the lives of Christians
1. They will judge you what you do more than by what you people say about you.
2. Actions speak louder than words.
XI. Do not be anxious about what is due you. Do your work, be patient, and keep your disposition sweet. Forget self, and you will be rewarded.
A. Philippians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything
1. Nothing in this life is worth worrying about, especially striving for self-glorification.
2. Jesus said that those who seek the admiration of men have their reward - Matthew 6:5
B. Spiritual Exercise: Test your spiritual motives - Do something good . . . and then tell no one!
C. Galatians 6:9-10 - The life of a diplomat is hard, but we can do it if we stick with it.
D. I Corinthians 15:58
XII. We have considered many points on how to get along with others, and especially with fellow Christians.
A. Perhaps you feel that you haven’t done your part in one or more of these areas. Now is the time to correct the problems.
B. The invitation is also open to those who wish to become children of God, to join with others in living the lives God intended for us.
Lesson based on one given by Brent Hunter in Rosewell, Georgia, in 1977.
- Always say less than what you think. Speak your truth quietly and clearly. How you say something often counts more than what you say.
Proverbs 17:27-29; 10:19; 6:2; Ecclesiastes 3:7; 9:17; James 1:19-20; 3:2; Colossians 4:6; Proverbs 25:11
- Make your promises sparingly and keep them faithfully, no matter what it costs you.
Ecclesiastes 5:4-5; Matthew 5:37; Psalm 15:4; II Peter 3:9; Judges 11:30-39; Joshua 9:3-27; I Corinthians 6:6-8
- Never let an opportunity pass to say a kind and encouraging thing to or about someone. Praise good work done, regardless of who did it. If criticism is needed, then do it helpfully – not spitefully.
Proverbs 12:25; Acts 23:11; Ecclesiastes 7:5; Galatians 6:1; Proverbs 25:12
- Be interested in others’ pursuits, their welfare, their homes, and their families. Let everyone you meet, however humble, feel that you regard him as one of importance.
Romans 12:15; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:3; James 1:19
- Keep a cheerful attitude. Hide your pains, worries, and disappointments under a smile.
Proverbs 16:20; John 16:33; Proverbs 17:22
- Preserve an open mind on all debatable questions. It is not who is right, but what is right. Discuss but do not argue. One can disagree without being disagreeable.
Acts 17:11; Romans 14:1; II Timothy 2:24-26; I Peter 3:15; Proverbs 15:1; Romans 12:18; Matthew 5:25
- Let your virtues speak for themselves and refuse to talk of others’ idiosyncrasies. Discourage gossip. Speak well of one another.
Matthew 23:12; II Timothy 3:2; Proverbs 17:9; 25:9-10; Matthew 18:15; Proverbs 26:20; Ephesians 4:29
- Be careful of another’s feelings. Wit, humor, or a sly remark at another’s expense may hurt where it is least expected.
Philippians 2:3-4; Matthew 12:36-37
- Pay no attention to ill-natured remarks about you. Simply live so that no one will believe them.
Matthew 5:11-12; II Corinthians 3:2; I Peter 3:13-16
- Do not be anxious about what is due to you. Do your work, be patient, and keep your disposition sweet. Forget yourself, and you will be rewarded.
Philippians 4:6; Matthew 6:5; Galatians 6:9-10; I Corinthians 15:58