I want to start off talking about you. Lots of folks have come to me talking about their children. What do we do about our children? And the first thing I realize that this man and his wife that are talking to me about their children, don’t really agree themselves on what to do about their children. So, let’s forget the children for a while, and just talk about this man and his wife.
And then you discover after a while that here’s an individual who really wants his own way, he wants to do his own thing. He doesn’t want to make any adjustments, and you discover that his wife has got the same idea. “A fellow and a girl who wed, start out to become as one, it is said, but many of them cannot agree which one of them they want to be.” You see, that’s often the problem.
Well marriage is not the process of two people continuing to live as individuals; it’s the process of becoming one, but which one? Now most of us, I think, want to be positive, constructive, free, relaxed, easy-going people, don’t we? We would want to be that way toward other people, too. I’m convinced that most of us feel that way about it, so I just want to share with you some of the things that you can do in order to enable you to be a positive, constructive, useful, free, relaxed, comfortable person.
That’s my objective, that’s what I would like to do to help you. Well, I think one point that all of us have to realize is in order to do that, whether we’re talking about you, or whether we’re talking about somebody else in your life, that we need to be aware of that whole person. Now take you as an illustration. You’ve got some strong points, you’ve got some real nice things about you that you even admit are nice, haven’t you? And there are a lot of areas in your life and you feel definitely, don’t you, that you’re really a worthwhile person being around, isn’t that so?
And then you’ve got some of those nasty traits. You’ve been that way, and now you think about somebody else in your life, and it’s the same way. People have assets, strong points, qualities, and people have liabilities, weak points, things that ought to change. And if we’re going to be useful, helpful people, we need to be thinking about ourselves in a wholesome way. I mean by that, considering the whole picture about you. The assets and the liabilities, and about somebody in your life and you have to be thinking about that individual in terms of the whole person, happily thinking about that person, their weak points, and their strong points, both. That doesn’t always happen. Let me give you an illustration.
This young fellow and his wife, they came into my office for counseling. Now let me describe this young man for you. Tall, handsome, he’s a hard worker, he’s a good provider, he’s generous, and he’s friendly. Now that’s a lot going for a fellow, isn’t it? Now he’s also a door slammer, and that just bugs his wife to no end. She didn’t discover this until after they were married, but he’ll go through a bathroom, and you’d think he want to knock the hinges off that door, or he may help her into a car and then slam the door like he wanted it to fall off.
And then, he has a sloppy streak, too. He’s a coat slinger. His tendency is to take off his coat and let it fly, and then kick off his shoes, and let them land wherever they’re going to land, and you see she’s so preoccupied with his door slamming and his coat slinging, and that’s all she can remember about him.
Now you take her. She’s a cute kid, beautiful woman, and she’s charming and neat, and a good housekeeper, and a good companion. You know that’s a lot going for a person, isn’t it? But she’s always late, and just as sure as he gets into the car, he can expect she’s got two or three things to run around doing. Just bugs him, burns him up. He’ll lay on the horn, “Come on.” And you know, that’s not a very good start, especially Sunday morning on the way to church. There he’s sitting on the way to church, and he’s mad at her and she’s mad at him because he’s impatient with her, so she is habitually late. And then another thing, she tends to be kind of sloppy with money, careless. She buys things on an impulse, and that’s her explanation. And that’s all he can think about that girl, you see. She’s an impulsive buyer, and she’s always late, and tends to wipe out those good qualities about her.
Now, you know when a fellow marries a girl and she’s a beauty and she’s got a personality, that’s pleasant and she’s neat and charming, that’s a lot going for a girl, but you see that’s what he saw before he married her.
Now what I’m saying is, just to remind you, if you want to be effectively related to people, the first thing you have got to do is be happily involved with that whole person. All the qualities and all the liabilities. You know, I had a coach, and he, too, had to face this in his job when he was working with his basketball players, and I was a basketball player. We had a championship team that year, and one of the reasons was that we had a championship coach.
Now that fellow, whenever I saw him coming toward me, I kind of got uneasy because I knew what he was gonna to do. Now what I tried to do whenever I thought he was looking was to get that ball and take a hook shot, because that was my favorite shot, and I could do it pretty good, and I always wanted me to look good, you know, when a coach was watching.
But he always said, “Henry, let me watch you dribble.” Oh, that was the worst part of my game. Now do you know if you were to describe me as an athlete, you would have to say that my foot work was good, and my teamwork was good, and my passing was good, and my shooting was good, but what did he concentrate on? He always wanted to watch me dribble.
Now you see, this is good. It’s not that he didn’t know that I had these other qualities, he knew it, and I knew it, and he let me know the he knew that I knew it, and he let me know that he knew that he knew it. In other words, he and I agreed that I was pretty good. Now you see, there’s nothing wrong with that because if you’re going to be on a team, you have to be pretty good. But he was a wise coach, because in order for us to have a basketball team, not only do you appreciate all those qualities, but he has got to force me to look at my liabilities too.
Now, before that year was up, I got to be a pretty good dribbler. Do you know why? Because he forced me to face up to my liabilities. That’s my coach. Now mind you what I’m saying. If you want to be effectively related to one another, and some of you are here tonight and you have started a relationship. The rest of you wished you could, I suppose. Now remember, that if it’s going to be effective, you need to happily look at the whole picture, the qualities, the good parts, and also the negative side, and you need to be working on all of those.
Or you take a physician. Back in my athletic days, I got a bad knee one time. It was so sore that I had to double it up. I couldn’t straighten it out and I hobbled into this physician’s office on my crutches and he said, “Sit on the table and stretch out your knee.” Now that was the most uncomfortable position that I could think of.
Now, that fellow forced me to do that. Now by the way, the point I’m trying to make here is that’s it’s positive, a good positive thing to concentrate on what’s negative. You may be 90% healthy. You see there wasn’t anything wrong with me. This physician had examined me. He knew that I was in good shape. He was the team physician. And so, here again, it wasn’t so important that he concentrate on my qualities and talk about my qualities and emphasize my qualities and praise my qualities, the important thing was to get my knee better. I wasn’t very sick.
Now it’s positive to eliminate what’s negative, and if you want your relationship to move forward, that’s the way you do it. Granted that it’s almost perfect, see you want to work on the part that isn’t. That’s how it gets to be perfect. So he stretched my knee, Ooo, it hurt. Now I had a perfectly good knee over here, he didn’t even mention it.
He began thumping my bad knee, thumping it, and when I winced the most he said, “Is that where it hurts the most?” and that’s what he thumped. Now you’ll have to admit that’s negative. And then he looked at me with a smile and he said, “I’m going to have to lance it.” I think he felt good about it. He turned around to this cabinet that he had where he kept his knives, humming to himself, “la, la, la, la, la, la,” and he turns around with a knife in his hand and says to me, “This is going to hurt.” You know what he did? He went ahead and cut me open and smiled and said, “Now you’re going to get better.”
He seemed happy about that. Now isn’t that strange? Did you ever stop to think what a physician does? He thumps you, he looks down your throat, he makes you swallow things you don’t like, he cuts you, he writes out expensive prescriptions for you, and after he does all that sort of thing, bills you. Now isn’t it strange that the physician is one of the most respected people in the community? Isn’t that strange? Certainly not because of what he does, it’s the result that we like isn’t it?
And so the coach is the fellow who concentrated on my weaknesses, and that’s what made me a good basketball player. And the physician, what does he want to know when you go to see him? What’s wrong! That’s what keeps you healthy. Now the Apostle Paul, let’s look at him and see how he approached his friends. The point I’m making, let me repeat again, is that it is positive to eliminate what’s negative.
And so the Apostle Paul approached his friends. Now let me read this. This is in I Corinthians chapter 3, and let me just point out to you what he did, and see if you think this is friendly. I wonder if you would talk to your friends this way. Listen to this. He said, “Brethren, I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babies in Christ.”
Would you talk to your friends that way? Is that positive, or is that negative? Now let’s just look at those two words: carnal and spiritual. You don’t run into those words very often unless you’re familiar with the Bible, and so I think it’s important that we talk about those words for a minute. Now the word carnal, according to the third verse, let me read the third verse. He says, “If there is among you envying and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal?”Now I think it is important for you and for me to locate ourselves, to identify ourselves. Now are you carnal?
What is carnal? Well, for one thing, is there envying? Envying, what is that? That is getting disturbed, and annoyed, and upset over somebody else’s qualities, and somebody else’s opportunities. Have you ever noticed that somebody else was prettier than you? Now you see, if you have the right attitude you would admire that person. You would be just delighted that you have the opportunity to know somebody that’s prettier than you. Now if you envy that person, see, you’re gonna be annoyed, disgusted, disturbed around that individual. And so when somebody has some talent or some ability, or some wealth or an opportunity or more education, and you have envy in your heart, it’s a difficult thing then, is it not, to be happily related to that person’s qualities? And so the Apostle Paul says for one thing there is envying among you, and this happens between husbands and wives, and between parents and children. This happens between children.
Now there’s another area here called strife: wrangling, contentions, disagreements, arguments. That happens quite frequently, doesn’t it, when we marry? I remember this young lady speaking very reverently about her husband. They came home from their honeymoon, and this was their first breakfast. The first breakfast. I’ve been married over thirty years now, and we’ve had many, many breakfasts, and it’s hard to imagine somebody’s first breakfast. And she shoved the toaster over to him and said, “Honey would you make the toast?” And he said, “No, that’s a woman’s job.” Well you know, at her house the father always made the toast, and she was surprised and amazed, and disappointed. But he wasn’t going to make any toast, and he took the position that any red blooded man would defend the fact that men don’t toast toast.
I can remember this kind of contention and argument at our house, too, when we were married. You see, I’m a hanger man; it’s obvious to me that anybody that has anything to hang up would us a hanger. My wife, she goes for hooks. My wife can put three days clothing on one hook. She wasn’t about to give that talent up very quick. And I would reach into the closet and knock down her supply of clothing, and that would burn me up. I’d call out, “Eva, come in here!” Now it seems to me that any red-blooded man ought to stick up for the fact that if you want to hang something up, you use hangers, don’t you? You know, that went on and on and on at our house for the longest time.
Now, if there are contentions and arguments and difficulties among you, are you not carnal? That’s what he’s saying, and then he says another thing, too: “If there are divisions among you.” You know, it’s one thing to have contention, but you ought to settle it. But sometimes people never settle it. And so, are you carnal? What does that mean?
Well, if there is wrangling, and fighting, and divisions, and envying, then are you not carnal? And you see, that’s a hindrance to good human relations. Then he talks about this word spiritual. Spiritual. And in order to define that, I want to turn to Galatians chapter 5, where it talks about the fruit of the Spirit. Mind you now, we’re talking about something that involves you and God, that’s all. This doesn’t have anything to do with people. This doesn’t have anything to do with circumstances. Now it says here in the fifth chapter of Galatians that “the fruit of the Spirit of God…” Now do you get that? “The fruit of the Spirit of God…”. This involves you and God, that’s all. It doesn’t involve people. But I’ve had folks say, “Do you know why I am the way I am? Because I have a mother.” And their argument is that anybody that had a mother is not responsible for their choices. I’ve had people say, “I’ll tell you why I am the way I am, because I have a background.” Now anybody that has a background, you see, is not responsible for their choices.
Now I don’t think you got that idea out of the Bible. You might have gotten that idea from a psychologist or a sociologist who doesn’t know the Bible, but the Bible says that there are some qualities available to you that you receive from God. Now let’s read them. Here’s a list, “Love, joy…..”. Joy? You mean to tell me that joy doesn’t have anything to do with people? You mean to tell me that joy doesn’t have anything to do with circumstances? Now what it is saying here is that if you have the joy of the Lord, that’s the way you’re going to respond to people. Now is that right or is that wrong?
Did I say something wrong? That joy involves you and God and that’s all. You know there’s hope there if that’s true. “Love, joy, peace, long-suffering,” boy, we need that. For instance we had a boy at our house and we had a rule. Before you come downstairs, make your bed. And it seemed like every morning he would come bounding down the stairs and my wife would call out, “Dick.” See my job was to make sure that my wife called out. “Dick,” she’d say, “Did you make your bed?” He would say, “Nope.” “Well then go on upstairs and make your bed.” And he would go plodding back upstairs to make his bed.
Now, how long do you tell a fellow to make his bed before he does it automatically? Twenty years. That’s what I mean by long suffering. You see, I mean you keep at it, and at it, and at it, and at it. How long? As long as necessary. Happily, joyfully, peacefully. Oh, you see, you can see that the kids make their bed, and be disgusted and upset. Now does your peace depend upon whether a boy makes a bed? Why of course not.
Your spirit is revealed when a boy won’t make his bed, not created; and so people reveal your spirit, they don’t create your spirit. Circumstances will reveal your spirit, not create it. Is that right? Did I say something wrong, or did I say something right? The spirit of love, and joy, and peace, and long suffering, and gentleness, and goodness, and faith, and meekness, and temperance, those are qualities that God will give you.
Now if that’s true, we ought to get kind of interested in how to contact God, shouldn’t we? How do you avail yourself of these kinds of resources? That ought to be something of real interest to anybody that’s listening to me. If He is the source of these qualities.
Now we’ve talked about two words, carnal and spiritual. And I’m saying that if you want to be effectively related to people that you need to deal with this spirit, this divisive spirit that keeps you from effectively relating yourself to somebody else. It’s called carnality, and what does it involve? It involves envying, and it involved contention and quarreling, and a divisiveness and divisions.
Now on the other hand, there’s another spirit, the spirit of God that will fill you with love, and joy, and peace, and long suffering, and gentleness, and goodness, and faith, and meekness, and temperance.
Now the purpose of this first message is to give you an opportunity to locate yourself. Now are you spiritual or are you carnal? Locate yourself.