Something stood out to me in the March 4, 2014 Daily Bread devotional: “Looking up to Jesus prevents us from looking down on others.”
I can identify with this: rather than nitpicking others, why not look up to Jesus?
There are versions of Christianity that focus a lot on relationships with people: fellowship, accountability, being brothers and sisters, etc. I, however, tend to gravitate to the versions that try to tell us how to cope with people, since I often do not fit in, and I tend to take people’s inventory for them.
I read Van Moody’s The People Factor, and one point of his that I appreciated was that we work for God, not for human beings. Moody is drawing here from Colossians 3:23, where the author exhorts slaves to obey their masters. Maybe the verse has a shady background and historical application, but I can still identify with the concept of seeking to please one, God. Other people will not necessarily appreciate what I do, but I have to believe that God does.
Of course, I wouldn’t want for others to be nice to me just because they are seeking to please God; I would want for them to be nice to me because they like me. But who am I to judge? Maybe I should go back to square one: look up to Jesus, so that I am not looking down on others, evaluating their motives, real and imagined.