Our actions matter. Sometimes we forget and we get lazy in our attitude. It is very much a "let your hair down" society now. Almost anything goes. It's your life so you can do with it what you want. Unfortunately when we expect little of people that is exactly what we get, little.
People need encouragers in their lives. They need someone who will stand in their corner and cheer them on. Children need parents who won't allow them to sink to the lowest common denominator but encourage them to go beyond the norm. Children need to hear that God has given them the capacity to do great things as he works through them. They need to dream and to have visions.
The world needs to hear that there is a plan in place to move them beyond this point. Most people are seeking something better, they just don't know yet that God has planned better things for them. Most people are stuck in the "what you see is what you get" and can't possibly imagine the wonderful things God intends for them to have and to experience. They need someone in their corner, cheering them on to discover the better things.
People actually believe that a loveless marriage is normal. Others have settled for a joyless job. Many think turbulent teenage years are just something that has to be lived through. People have come to accept hopelessness, despair and depression as part of life. They need encouragers to tell them different.
Paul says to the Colossians:
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. (Colossians 4:5)
Be wise in the way you interact with people who have yet to discover the love and joy of the Lord. Be careful how you respond to them. Remember they need encouragers.
Don't respond in your flesh but in the Spirit. If you are dealing with an angry person, rude, vulgar, inconsiderate, just remind yourself that they are without Jesus and you can't expect anything more from them, but God has planned something better for them. So when you respond you do so knowing this is an opportunity to demonstrate the love and grace of Jesus. Even if they were to spit in our face we must continue in the character of Jesus.
I have a part-time job dealing with people. Our policy is that if someone is yelling and swearing we are to give them three warnings and then hang up. Jesus did not set any such policy. We live as if he did. If someone offends us we carry on as if we have a right to cut them out of our life. But Jesus told us to love them, to pray for those who persecute us. Very much different from the way we conduct ourselves.
Too often we respond in kind. If someone is rude to us we are rude back. If someone yells at us we yell back. We hold to our rights and are offended they assaulted us. We conveniently forget the "turn the other check". We ignore the instruction that if someone sues us for our shirt that we should give him our coat as well. Or how about if we are forced to walk one mile we should walk two? If we don't feel the need to love these people then we need to re-examine our relationship with Jesus. A relationship with him should be transforming our heart and mind.
Personal rights are set aside when we are dealing with "outsiders". Instead of thinking of ourselves we must always be making the most of every opportunity. It doesn't mean something positive will come out of every encounter but we are making the most out of it. We need to show a lot more wisdom than we have been, setting ourselves aside and allowing the Spirit to operate through us, to bring conviction to the hearts of those without Jesus. A smile on our face and kindness in our heart often opens the door to many opportunities. Its all about Jesus.