Hello everyone and welcome to today’s episode, where we pick up where we left off in episode 89, How to Be a Better Observer of People. It aired on January 27th, 2021.
To start, I’m going to share a response I received about that episode. It’s from a listener in Tennessee who wrote, “Loved this message. Really challenged me. Listening to it twice.”
The message of that episode was this: our relationships deepen as we become better observers of the important people in our life. It gives us important data for relating well with them. I expand upon how to be a keen observer of people in today's episode.
If someone went to the trouble of listening twice to the how to be a better observer of people episode I going to assume there’s more interest in the subject. It’s a key component to the O.R.A. principle of deepening our relationships with people. Observe – Remember – Ask.
There are 3 distinct benefits to being a keen observer of people
Benefit #1 We come to understand the love of God better when we’re a keen observer of people
When we see others as God sees them, and loves them, we begin to see how God sees us. And loves us.
[Story of the kids complaining about one of their peers on the way home from church. Sorry, no transcript of this example is available]
The more we know about each other, the less we’ll sin against each other. Because we’ll appreciate more the slow process of how God works in each of us to conform us more and more into his image.
We are all a work in progress. When we recognize this in the behavior and attitudes of others it enables us to forgive and show grace more easily.
Being an astute observer of people pleases God. It enriches our lives when we see God at work in the lives of others. When we dig deeply and keenly observe people as God’s children, we grow to understand the love of God in a deeper way
Benefit #2 Being a keen observer of people will often bring to light our faulty assumptions and expectations of people
We default to assuming. There’s so much we don’t know about people.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” – Philo of Alexandra
To be an astute observer of people means we’ve set aside our own prejudices, which is hard to do on our own. We need God’s wisdom and power to set aside our confirmation bias, where we interrupt data through the filter of foregone conclusions about people.
Janet and I were recently in a Zoom meeting where the issue of married people and singles working together on the mission field came up.
Two key sticking points in those relationships are assumptions and expectations. An astute observer of people will question his or her assumptions, and also have realistic expectations of others.
[example of the young missionary wife who for their team party or celebration brought cookies from the store, rather than making them from scratch. Sorry, no transcript of this example is available ]
Benefit #3 Being a keen observer of people enables us to act wisely in our relationships
[Story of being a deacon at a church where there was a lot of turnover on congregants. Lots of new people coming in the front door, but just as many leaving out the back door. I suggested at a deacon meeting we interview those who had left the church. Pastor slams his fist on the table and yells at me.
No one came to my defense, except one guy several days later. My observation of the pastor and my colleagues on the board gave me useful data in relating with those men from that point forward.
Being a good observer of people guides you in who to invest a relationship with and who to avoid.
[example of the mission agency that hired me to do exit interviews with two missionary couples who recently left their ordination to join another sending agency. Sorry, no transcript of this example is available]. To improve their organization they needed data
So what does all this mean for YOU? What action can you take in response to today’s program? Here are a few ideas:
- Ask God to increase your observation skills. Ask him to help you see others as He does. He’ll show you how.
- Remember, this is all a skill that can be learned. It takes practice to observe others in a meaningful way.
- Listen to previous episodes developing our relational skills, the 4 levels of relationship skills:
Episode 11. Unconsciously Unskilled – Level 1
Episode 12. Consciously Unskilled – Level 2
Episode 13. Consciously Skilled – Level 3
Episode 14. Unconsciously Skilled – Level 4
Finally, I want to share one last response to episode 89, How to Be a Better Observer of People. A retired missionary emailed to tell me that she wants to “observe my beloved husband and others with a more focused attention, and observing them as Jesus does. Thanks for getting my attention.”
May that be our desire as well. To observe people as Jesus does.
As always, another thing you could do is let me and your fellow listeners know what resonated with you about today’s episode. You can put your thoughts in an email and send them to me, firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes.
If you forget everything else, here’s one thing I hope you remember from today’s episode.
There are great personal benefits that accrue to us when we are a keen observer of people. But we need God’s help to be that kind of person.
In closing, if you found the podcast helpful, please subscribe and I’d appreciate it if you would leave us a review wherever you get your podcasts. It will help us to serve more people just like you.
I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to both reflect and to act. So that you will find the joy God intends for you through your relationships. Because after all, You Were Made for This.
Well, that’s all for today. See you next week. Goodbye for now.
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