Are you ever disillusioned with people? Silly question, right? Of course we all have been disillusioned with people at one time or another, perhaps even today!
I’m reading through Oswald Chambers’ classic devotional My Utmost for His Highest, and today’s reflection was all about dealing with disillusionment when it comes to other people. Chambers references one of the most intriguing statements about Jesus. Jesus was near the beginning of His ministry and the miracles He had done were drawing large crowds who liked Him. Speaking of these large and largely adoring crowds, the gospel writer John states, “But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.” (John 2:24)
Most people would have felt honored by all of the positive attention, but not Jesus. He had a realistic view of people (“he knew all men”) and realized they could be fickle and could easily do a 180 in their opinion of Him. Jesus was not cynical of people, but on the other hand He didn’t have a Pollyanna view of people either. It was a wonderful balance that we too should adopt.
If we feel people can do no right then they sense we don’t believe in them, that we are always suspect of them. Such an attitude will certainly poison our relationships. On the other hand, if we expect perfection out of people we are going to be bitterly disappointed. They will, sooner or later, disappoint us. We need to adopt Jesus’ view of people for, as Chambers writes, it is He who “brings us to the point where we see people as they really are, yet without any cynicism or any stinging and bitter criticism.”
Part of our problem is that we want people to satisfy our ultimate need for someone totally trustworthy and so we expect perfection from them. Chambers writes, “We are demanding of a human being something which he or she cannot possibly give. There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.”
So, when it comes to those we work with, recreate with, live next door to, go to church with, or live with — let’s lighten up! Let’s cut them some slack. Sometimes you just have to whisper a prayer upward with rolled eyes, “People, ya gotta love ’em. Help me to do so, Lord.”