The Art of Getting Along

As I look at the life and ministry of Jesus I am amazed at how well He got along with people
People felt “at easy’ in His presence
People felt ‘at home’ with Him
People felt that they could ‘be real’ when with Him
People were “open’ and ‘transparent’ when talking with Him
People knew that they were ‘accepted’ and ‘loved’
He had an amazing way of helping people relax and be themselves when in His presence and so people were attracted to Him
Drawn to Him
Engaged by Him
Captivated by Him
Fascinated by Him
And it didn’t matter who you were

The blind man that the disciples tried to send away
The prostitute at the well of Sycar
Mary the demon possessed prostitute
The prostitute who anointed His feet with oil
The tax collector sitting in the tree – Zacchaeus
The leper who came and asked to be healed
The Roman centurion who believed
The demon possessed man in the Gadarenes
The paralytic who had lost all hope and laid by the side of the pool
Peter who doubted and denied Him three times
The rich young ruler who walked away
The many children He encountered
The friends He had – Mary, Martha, Lazarus
The thief on the cross
Judas who betrayed Him
He was simply so attractive that he was able to welcome and get along with all who came to Him…
I want to share about how we can be like Jesus and be at ease and approachable with each and every person whom we encounter
Regardless of who they are or what they have or have not done
“The Art of Getting Along”
How we can become approachable – the approachability principle
Here is what I want to communicate:
Being at ease with ourselves helps others be at ease with us
We can give no greater gift to others than putting them at ease (when they are with us)
There is a lady who has had an amazing career in broadcasting…
The quality that made her so successful was “approachability”
In fact, in the years after she became successful in her chosen field she was paid 12 million dollars a year
A million a month because of how people would open up and share with her on air
She is Barbara Walters … Founded The View / Reporter on many news shows / “specials”
And why does she get paid the big bucks?
Because anyone can talk to her about just about anything.
She is approachable…
The producer of her many television specials that ran for more than 20 years observes:
“She has a way that has matured over the years of getting people to say things on air that they never thought they were going to say.”
She even wrote a book: “How to Talk with Practically Anybody About Practically Anything.”
She was a master when it came to ”The Art Getting Along”
She was approachable and put people at ease when they were with her
IT IS SAD TO SAY:
People miss many opportunities for connection and the chance to build deeper relationships because they do not make themselves approachable
Notice: I purposely used the phrase “make themselves.”
Approachability has littlest do with other people’s boldness or timidity.
In other words:
If they are bold they will approach you
If they are timid they won’t approach you
Not true…
It has everything to do with how you conduct yourself and what messages you send to others
So you can learn how to be “approachable” to everyone everywhere!!
Something I saved many years ago … It is called “The Art of Getting Along”
“Sooner or later, a man, if he is wise, discovers that life is a mixture of good days and bad, victory and defeat, give and take. He learns that it doesn’t pay to be a too-sensitive soul, that he should let some things go over his head like water off a duck’s back. He learns that he who loses his temper usually loses out, that all men have burnt toast for breakfast now and then, and that he shouldn’t take the other fellow’s grouch too seriously.
He learns that carrying a chip on his shoulder is the easiest way to get into trouble, that the quickest way to become unpopular is to carry tales of gossip about others, that buck-passing always turns out to be a boomerang, that it doesn’t matter so much who gets the credit so long as the job gets done.
He learns that most others are as ambitious as he is, that they have brains as good or better, that hard work, not cleverness is the secret of success. He learns that no man ever gets to first base alone, and that it is only through cooperative effort that we move on to better things.
He realizes (in short) that the “art of getting along” depends about 98 percent on his own behaviour towards others.”       (Alberta Civil Service Association News)
The point: If you want to make yourself agreeable and approachable to others, then you need to put them at ease.
HOW TO PUT PEOPLE AT EASE (from observations of the life and ministry of Jesus):
Jesus exhibited the following seven characteristics in His life and ministry … and so was approachable….
1> PERSONAL WARMTH – He truly liked people
Jesus was Someone who loved people and thus liked to be with them – and they knew it
He was warm and welcoming to all who came
For you to agreeable and approachable you need to truly like people
Like being with people
Like talking with (not to) people
You can always tell when someone doesn’t like people
And, you can feel it when individuals genuinely care for people
They are warm and kind
“Kindness is a language the dumb can speak and the deaf can hear and understand.”         Christian Bovee
There is an old Peanuts comic strip in which Charlie Brown say, “I love mankind, it’s just people I can’t stand.”
And, to be approachable, it is not enough to love people in theory
Jesus’ love was very practical and evident at all times
You need to generate personal warmth towards the people you encounter and meet
Engaging with them
Embracing them
Listening intently to what they say and don’t say
Responding to them from the heart
2> APPRECIATION FOR THE DIFFERENCES IN PEOPLE
People are different …
Melancholic
Choleric
Sanguine
Phlegmatic
Introvert
Extrovert
We need to understand, as Jesus did, that God makes all of us different and unique
And that different is good
We need, like Jesus, to come to the place where we appreciate people for who they are and what they have to offer … both being unique
Jesus treated everyone the same
When you appreciate the differences in others – even commenting to them about the differences – it will make you more likeable, approachable, and easier to get along with
Others will notice that you are at ease with them and so they find you more approachable
  And, you first need to be at ease with who you are because that helps other be at ease with you
3> CONSISTENCY IN MOOD
As you read the Scriptures you see that Jesus is consistent in how He acts towards other
I am sure that as a human being He had good and not so good days – but He was consistent in His mood
Have you ever worked with or lived with someone whose moods were up and down all the time?
You had to spend time figuring out how they were each day so you knew if you approach them or leave them alone
It was like walking on eggshells around them….
You never know what you were going to be facing
This kind of person is not approachable
Approachable people display a consistency of mood
They are even-keeled and predictable
You know what you’re going to get because they are basically the same everytime you see them
4> SENSITIVITY TOWARDS PEOPLE’S FEELINGS
I am amazed how sensitive Jesus was towards people’s feelings – especially noticeable with the woman caught in adultery
Although approachable people are emotionally steady – consistency of mood – that doesn’t mean they expect others to be that way
An approachable person recognizes that other people’s feelings are going to be different than their own
Consequently they tune in to the moods and feelings of others
They then quickly adjust how they relate to others
They are like the captain of a sailboat who tests the winds and adjusts the sails accordingly to current conditions in order to get where he desires to go
So we need to be sensitive towards people’s feelings
When people sense that another person is sensitive to how they are feeling, they are more likely to open up to them because they are approachable
5> UNDERSTANDING OF HUMAN WEAKNESSES AND EXPOSURE OF THEIR OWN
Jesus was not afraid to share His weaknesses and concerns
In the Garden before His crucifixion He was struggling with what was ahead and took three of His followers with Him to pray for Him as He wrestled with God’s plan
Approachable people understand that they have some weak areas and they don’t try to keep up the pretence of being perfect
Someone once said, “Express a mean opinion of yourself occasionally; it will show your friends that you know how to tell the truth.”
People don’t find “perfect people” approachable
People don’t share their issues with people who apparently don’t have issues
People are not comfortable around perfect people
Approachable people are honest about their abilities – and shortcomings
They are willing to be told not what they want to hear but what they need to hear
Approachable people are regular, every day people who don’t take life too seriously and are able to laugh at themselves
They embrace the old Chinese proverb: “Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves. They shall never cease to be amused.”
Because they can admit their faults and shortcomings they come across as approachable
Other people feel comfortable sharing their issues and faults
6> ABILITY TO FORGIVE EASILY AND QUICKLY ASK FOR FORGIVENESS (Humble)
Jesus was quick to forgive … He didn’t have a need to be forgiven because He was without sin
Only doing what He saw the Father do and speaking what He heard the Father say
He even forgave those who crucified Him … looking down from the cross
An understanding of human weaknesses and a willingness to reveal their own make approachable people humble
And because they are humble, they quickly ask forgiveness and easily grant it to others
When a person does not forgive they give up the right to be a “safe person”
When a person goes ‘historical’ every time there is an argument – they have not forgiven and so are not a safe, approachable person
And those who don’t forgive have not really ever experienced forgiveness – even God’s forgiveness … and have not experienced the fullness of God’s love
“So I tell you that all her sins are forgiven, and that is why she has shown great love. But anyone who has been forgiven for only a little will show only a little love.”      (Luke 7:47)
The Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us as we have forgiven…”
A person who has experienced God’s love knows they are forgiven and is able to fully forgive others and so is approachable
7> Authenticity
One thing that Barbara Walters used to recite to herself anytime she was feeling uncomfortable or insecure is a statement she had learned from a mentor and friend… “I am the way I am; I look the way I look; I am my age.”
(from her book: “How to Talk with Practically Anyone About Practically Anything”)
Approachable people are real
They are who they are and don’t wear masks or play games
As a result, they engage with others on a genuine level
They don’t pretend to be someone they’re not
They don’t go out of their way to hide what they think and feel
They don’t have hidden agendas
They say what they mean and mean what they say
You don’t have to worry about where you stand with them
Conclusion:
One of the reasons they can be authentic is that they are secure in themselves
Secure people don’t feel that they always have to win
Secure people don’t have anything to prove
Security is the most disarming of all traits and so people feel safe around you
Being secure in who you are means you are approachable
Approachable people are at ease with themselves, and that puts others at ease
We can give no greater gift to others than putting them at ease so they feel safe and will open up and share with you from their heart
The question to ask yourself:
Would people say that you are easy to approach and open to talking with them without: Judging
Criticizing
Rejecting
Ignoring
Fixing them
Talking about your self
Preaching at them (quoting Scripture)
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
1> How at ease are you with yourself?
Are you basically secure or insecure?
Are you confident in your abilities, or do you deal with a lot of self-doubt?
Do you feel good about yourself, or do you wish you were more like someone else?
2> How can you tell when someone has a hidden agenda?
What kind of things happen when that agenda is revealed?
Does the possibility of having to deal with a hidden agenda make you reluctant to be open and approachable?
3> Think about a moody person you’ve had to deal with in the past.
What kind of an impact did that person’s moods have on you?
How did it affect the relationship?
When are you prone to moodiness?
What can you do to make your moods fluctuate less?