4. The Fundamentals in handling people-Part 2

Why should someone be interested in you?



Why do we respond the way we do?  What is our motivation?  Ask yourself what is the reason you do the things you do?  Each one of acts on our desires,.

         Look at the deer and the deer hunter as an illustration.  The hunter looks for ways to draw the deer into range, using the deer’s desire.  A deer does not have interest Krispy Kreme donuts or shiny gold trinkets.  The deer is interested in other deer, so the hunter puts deer scent into the air, when the male buck smells the scent of a female deer; he is pulled in.  

         Take fishing for example, the fisherman trying to catch Bluegill will use worms as bait so the fish is interested, he not going to use rocks.  The key to fishing is getting the fish to desire what you have, so the he bites the bait.

         We are the same way; we operate according to our desires or interest.  Our desire causes us to act.

         Take sports for example, some are some people interested in football and others could care less.  Why do we care about our team, “the Cleveland Browns”, and not follow the Oakland Raiders?  Someone might not be all that interested in football, but they care about the Cleveland Browns.  Why, because they interested in Cleveland, because they live in the Cleveland area, and the Browns fall under that category.  We cheer for Cleveland, because a Cleveland victory means “I” win.  The point is one way or another there is a reason we have an interest.


Understanding interest


Therefore, if what we desire causes us to act, the same goes for others.  If we can learn to think from another’s perspective, in other words, what makes them interested, we can impact them for example, Dale Carnegie relates this example from his book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, about a kindergarten kid who did not want to go to school. 


Stan came home from work one evening to find his youngest son, Tim, kicking and screaming on the living room floor.  He was to start kindergarten the next day and was protesting that he would not go. Stan’s normal reaction would have been to banish the child to his room and tell him he’d just better make up his mind to go.  He had no choice.  But tonight, recognizing that this would not really help Tim start kindergarten in the best frame of mind, Stan sat down and thought, “If I were Tim, why would I be excited about going to kindergarten?”   He and his wife made a list of all the fun things Tim would do such as finger painting, singing songs, making new friends.  Then they put them into action.  “We all started finger-painting on the kitchen table—my wife, Lil, my other son Bob, and myself, all having fun.  Soon Tim was peeping around the corner.  Next he was begging to participate. ‘Oh, No! You have to go to kindergarten first to learn how to finger-paint.’  With all the enthusiasm I could muster I went through the list talking in terms he could understand—telling him all the fun he would have in kindergarten.  The next morning, I thought I was the first one up.  I went downstairs and found Tim sitting sound asleep in the living room chair.  ‘What are you doing here?’ I asked.  ‘I’m waiting to go to kindergarten.  I don’t want to be late’  The enthusiasm of our entire family had aroused in Tim an eager want that no amount of discussion or threat could have possibly accomplished”[1]


         Tim is no different then any adult, we operate under the same principle.  We have a desire to do something, when it is to our best interest.   For example, I personally have played a little soccer in my life, with some friends, maybe 20-years ago.  I have showed very little interest in soccer since then, I really don’t know the players, I did not know the rules of the game, or the teams involved.  When I heard about soccer parents, I thought what’s the big deal about soccer?

         When I signed my daughter up for soccer, and volunteered to help out, I found out I was the coach.  An amazing thing happened, my disinterest in the game, its rules, players and teams changed.  I went to Borders Books, looking for soccer books, I needed to know about soccer, I had a desire to understand the game, since I was now a coach.  I didn’t want to seem ignorant to other parents and kids, my significance was at stake.  So here I am, reading books about Soccer strategies and ways to coach the game. 

         What changed about the game of soccer?  Why was I not interested, then all of a sudden I was interested?  I had a desire, because soccer now involved me, I needed to know more.  I could now relate to  soccer parents all over the world as I cheered my daughter and coached her team.  I wanted my child to do well, so I had a desire to work with her to improve her skills.  My performance as a coach and father are at stake, if the team does badly my significance is impacted. 

         We all operate the same way; we are interested in what affects us.  If we feel, something does not involve us, or we have nothing at stake, we show little interest. 


Learning to see from another perspective


         Each of us comes to life with our own interests and experiences in human relations.  The ability to see a situation from another perspective gives us the ability to relate to the person we are trying to reach.  I know understand the soccer parent, because I am a soccer parent.  Do I understand the addict?  Do I understand the Atheist? 

         Dale Carnegie quotes Henry Ford, as saying, “If there is one secret to success....It lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own”.[2]  Henry Ford designed cars with this in mind; he tried to think of the average consumer, what would they want in a car?  He then set about giving what they wanted.  He thought in terms of the person buying the car.

         The same goes with the Gospel, we have to learn to try to understand where people are coming from. Try to put yourself in their shoes, what have they been exposed to, what was their childhood like?  Did they ever hear the Gospel before?

         Understanding another person’s view requires us to have empathy, which then cause compassion.  Empathy is defined as, the ability to imagine oneself in another's place and understand the other's feelings, desires, ideas, and actions.  Once we are able to see through another’s eyes, we can have compassion.  Compassion is the desire to bear another distress.  We bear their distress, because we understand it.  Jesus had compassion on, because he understood us, he saw us from our perspective.

         Jesus tell the story of a good Samaritan, Jesus allows us to see the world through his eyes, He models the Samaritan as the way we are to treat our neighbors.  The Samaritans were enemies of the Jews, and the Jews were enemies of the Samaritans. Levites and Priests were supposed to be the closest people to God. Yet we see the Levite and the Priest, with no compassion for the wounded man, while the Samaritan his enemy acted upon compassion.      


29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 "Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 "Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 "But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 "So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 "On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.' 36 "So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" 37 And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:29-37


The Samaritan was able to take himself out of his own world, a place himself in the world of the wounded man.  He treated the wounded man, like he would want to be treated if he were laying there.  Jesus is telling us to do the same; we are to have compassion on those around us, even our “enemies”.   Try to see the world from their perspective, and let the love of Christ flow from our lives, like the Samaritan.

         We can ask the Lord to give us compassion for the lost, to see the world through their eyes, and then meet them at their need. 


Why people aren’t interested in the Gospel?


         When reaching people for Christ, many times it seems people are just not interested in the Gospel.  They seem apathetic to salvation, so we ask ourselves, “Why can’t they see it the way I see it?”   People are not interested, because they don’t think “Salvation” involves them. Most people who hear the Gospel and reject it do so, because they think it does not involve them.  They have no interest in something, they don’t need.  Why do they need salvation?

         Presenting the Gospel requires us to try to see through the eyes of the person hearing the message.  Each person comes to the table with their own perspective, to effectively present the Gospel to our friends, we need to see the world through their eyes. Let’s look at some examples.

         The mother, raising kids, working, taking her kids to soccer practice, wanting to help her kids succeed, she thinks, why do I need salvation?  I am doing all I can for my kids, I am sacrificing my time, my life! I am a good person.  What do I need to be saved from? The mother here, lets call her Mary, does not have a desire to be saved, because she does not think she is lost.  According to her thinking, she is doing everything she can possibly do, to be a good person.

         Take another example, an atheist, he was rejected by his dad; his mom never had time for him, she was too busy with her friends. He was teased in school, his dad never took him to play football or baseball. If there was a god, this would have never happened to him. Life is a miserable place, so filled with bad things, how could there be a “higher” power that lets all these things happen.  He says “Sorry I just can’t believe a god exists”.  On top of all that, I saw a program on the Discovery channel which showed me Constantine is the guy who put the Bible together.  He finishes with, “I don’t need a crutch like you”

         Both the mom and the atheist have one thing in common, they don’t have an interest in the Gospel, because they don’t think have a need. This is the importance in seeing the world from another’s perspective.

         Put yourself in the place of the mother, can you see how she might feel the way she does?  So if you were to look through the world from her eyes, how would you show her the Gospel?  What is her interest?

We can see she loves her kids, is totally devoted to them.  You might start by saying, Mary I see how dedicated you are to your family and children, you set such a great example for the rest of us.  Do you know God is the same way; He cares for us, like you care for your children.  Mary you sacrifice your life for your kids, because you love them.  God sacrificed His Son for us, because he loved us, so much just like John 3:16 says. For God so loved the world... 

         Regarding the atheist, he has pain in His life, he needs to know God loves him, and the pain he has from his relationship with his father and mother is because we live in a fallen world.  You might say, Joe “What you went through in your childhood, is so sad”.  I can understand how you see the world, and you are right Joe, this world is filled with evil.  All you have to do is look in the newspaper today, for proof.  However, Joe there is a God, who cares for your pain and hurt.  He sent Jesus Christ to die for your sins, so you can have eternal life. 

         We want them to see the Gospel from their perspective.


People respond when they have need 

         The key to helping your friends understand Christ is helping them see they have a need for Christ.  People are not interested, because they think they don’t have a need.  The lack of urgency is the result of false impression of security.

         Through our friendship with people, we can understand what is hindering them from hearing the Gospel.  Our job is to help them see, how the Bible is very relevant in their life.  We need to unmask the “Need” of salvation. 

          Ask your friends, if they died today what would happen to them?  Where do they think they would go?

These are powerful questions, which have changed many people.  Among them was D. James Kennedy who recently passed away, who at the age of 23 heard the question asked him from a Radio announcer one morning.  He then began trying to answer the question, in the process he found Jesus Christ.


[1] How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie  1981, Pocket Books  Pgs. 34,35

[2] Ibid, pg. 37