Romans 12:3: “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

Is the life of one human being worth more than the life of another? Hopefully, we all agree that the answer is no. Every life is equally precious. Problems come up when we forget that.

“Thinking of ourselves with sober judgment”, as the apostle Paul puts it, is tricky. We have the tendency to either be full of ourselves or we feel small and inconsequential and don’t appreciate who we are. It is funny that the golden middle, which means loving ourselves without overindulgence, is so hard to do. I believe it’s probably impossible to do, unless we have met the Lord.

God loves us like no other, so chances are, if we accept this reality, we also accept His perception of us. “I am loved by the Lord” is a healthy self-assessment. In addition, what puts things into perspective is our understanding that God loves both me and my neighbor. This knowledge comes in handy, especially when I have a fight with the neighbor.  

I remember a work relationship that slowly went from bad to worse; and no amount of business meetings seemed to be able to resolve the issues at hand. We were simply not on the same page, and I had to accept that. For the sake of my sanity, I finally resigned and moved on. Careful not to burn any bridges, I made sure not to broadcast any negativity. As a result, my ex-employer and I have stayed in touch and remained on friendly terms.

Processing conflicts, I have learnt this simple truth: God loves me, but He loves the other person too.  We need to remember that when we don’t see eye to eye. Continue to respect a person, even though this person represents a different school of thought and has a world view that you cannot buy into. After all, we don’t know it all; only God knows everything. In times when old friends divide over political opinions I have found this approach extremely helpful.

As a general rule of thumb, let’s refrain from snap judgments. Nobody is perfect. When we are offended by someone, we can always err on the side of caution by applying plenty of grace.

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