Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 - 6 comments

"Win-Win" Part 3

This is the last part of a three part series where I discuss having an attitude of “Win-Win” while dealing with the world around me. This attitude says that you don’t have to lose for me to win, and conversely, I don’t have to lose for you to win. There’s enough for all of us.

This time I will discuss living as a Christian with a “Win-Win” attitude.

The Great Commission. It is one of the defining principals of Christianity. According to the Bible, Jesus’ last commandment was for his followers to go into the world and make disciples, in other words, to make Christians. Of course, the term “Christian” had not even been invented yet, but that’s another story.

So, throughout the history of the Christian Church, members have been trying to “spread the gospel,” the good news, that God so loves the world that his son, Jesus, came and paid the price for all of our misdeeds (a.k.a. “sins”). This has been done in all sorts of ways. Some of the nastier include the Crusades and the Inquisition. Often it had nothing to do with God or “saving souls” but with the acquisition of power: political, financial, or otherwise. I’m going to take all of those fraudulent reasons off the table. There is all sorts of evil in the world, and it will use whatever means it can find to achieve its goals, even abusing the name of God. (I’m quite sure that many Muslims currently can see the truth in that statement.)

That leaves us with sincere people who really want to teach the world about God, and what he did with Jesus. For me it all comes down to the Bible. It’s not about throwing it at non-Christians by peppering them with quotations. It’s not berating them for not believing in it. How about doing what the Bible says? Show respect for people. Fight for fairness and equality. Forgive people. Cut them some slack. (In Christian jargon, this is called “extending grace.”) It’s about loving people. One of the favorite quotes that Christians like to hurl at non-Christians is that “God so loved the world that he gave his only son.” Show that love to the world. Demonstrate what that means.

If people have questions, answer them without malice or being defensive. It is only my job to offer the information. We all have the free-will right of refusal. My mission is to spread the word. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to soften hearts and open eyes. If the non-Christian chooses another way, I have to respect that. I still need to live up to the message that we all were made in the image of God, and I should treat everyone with respect and dignity. I must demonstrate the love and grace that I claim is the whole message of Christianity … That God first loved me and extended me the grace that I don’t deserve. I am not called to be the judge, merely the messenger. If I don’t do that, I can hardly be surprised when “the World” sees me as a hypocrite. If I am demonstrating what the Bible teaches, I will be living in “Win-Win.”

But I also must have “Win-Win” where I live. I want society to be ruled by what I think is “right.” However, non-Christians may have other ideas of what is “right” or how that is lived out. We have to sit down at the table of “Win-Win,” find our common denominators, and move forward without resorting to name-calling. That is not the least bit helpful or productive. It’s “Lose-Lose,” and who wants that?

I shudder to say it, but sometimes, we must compromise. We have to decide what we can and cannot live with and move forward from there. “Win-Win” means that we have to be able to understand the other side’s perspective. I have to acknowledge that they have a valid perspective, even if I don’t agree with it. I cannot expect them to treat me civilly if I am not able to offer the same courtesy to them.

I extend a plea to all Christians. Let’s be civilized. Let’s do unto others, as we would have them do unto us. Let’s treat people with other belief systems with respect, and let’s keep doing it until they believe that we’re doing it in earnest and not just as a part of some ploy.

Then, and only then, will it even be possible to have a good faith negotiation. Until that happens, we have no chance at a “Win-Win,” and everyone will keep shouting at one another.

Most importantly, how are we to get non-Christians to consider our spiritual truths if we are not living them out in our daily lives? Self-righteousness will only harden their hearts and drive them away. Is that what Jesus told us to do? Who wins?


I hope that you enjoyed my little blogging experiment, or at least found it interesting. Hope it wasn’t too preachy. This “Win-Win” thing really does work, but more than that, it’s made me a much happier person once I was able to let go of the battle.

Tune in tomorrow. It’ll be something a little more whimsical; I promise.


Great post. I find it difficult to blog about religious matters myself, but you do so beautifully.

I love how you described "extending grace" - a term I wasn't familar with in that context

I think Bush and his party, his "base" did a lot to hurt relations between Christians and other religions and non-believers. They made it political, took out the humanity. They thought an us against them mentality would work and to a large degree it did.

I will have to say though that I still firmly believe that someone who is exclusively a religious leader - I'll use the Pope as an example - has NO place at the table in government discussions and decisions. I'm not saying a religious person can't participate but that person must have education and experience beyond their religion's agenda.

The amount of capitulation to religious groups that Obama has to do disturbs me - all the prayers at the Inauguration, the service before, the service the next day, the what church will he attend - it is all too much and should not be part of a secular event/government

and the fallout I've been reading about his inclusion of "non-believers" in his speech is doing nothing to bring me to a table where I wish to have any discussion with these people.

The problem for Christians and non Christians is righteousness. If I am right I don't have to compromise.
I Don't have to talk to you.
You need to come up to my high position.
At such times win-win is very difficult.

Stacy: Thank you. This was by far the most difficult for me of the three.

Dianne: I'm afraid that I observe a lot of what Dr. John's saying above. Both sides have dug their heels in. It makes me sad.

Dr. John: So true. So true.

Interesting points.

This was a very good series. Your reasoning is sound.

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