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Before you jump to conclusions…

Jesus knew that perception is not always reality. Appearances and our perceptions can often deceive us. However, rendering a “right” and accurate judgment of a given situation is not always easy. It requires spiritual discipline, careful investigation and a healthy dependence upon the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth, sent to lead us into all truth. (John 16:13) This is especially applicable when it comes to dealing with reports of questionable behavior in others.

I don’t know about you, but frequently I hear things that people have said or done that stir a righteous indignation within me. It is not just limited to people I know personally. A case in point is the news story of the high profile hit and run that is presently providing fodder for heated expressions of public opinion in the media. At such times, we would all do well to be reminded of the judging precaution Jesus gave us. “Do not judge by appearances.”

What does He mean by that? How do we judge with right judgment? The best way to understand that is to look at how He Himself judges. And what better place to look than in the first books of the Old Testament where we see Him in action and giving instruction in rendering right judgment. Here then are three judging precautions that can save all of us from jumping to conclusions.

The Balance of Trade in Relationships

What happens when you send out ten friendly “vibes” to someone and only get two in return? Or what about the opposite of that – how do you react when you are being inundated by “vibes” that you don’t want to return? I don’t know about you, but both of these scenarios set off my ‘vibe” alarm system.

When it comes to monitoring the quality of our relationships most people have a sense of uncomfortableness when the exchange of “vibes” is not reciprocal. That happens because healthy relationships typically are marked by a give-and-take balance. When things are out of balance, it sets off an internal warning system that is meant to prompt us to do something about it.

Positive relationships require maintaining a healthy balance of trade. A mutually beneficial interchange requires both buying and selling. When someone is selling more than they are buying that is good for them but not for the other person, and vice versa.

You can relate to this principle when you think about how you feel when you have to deal with a high pressure salesman or phone solicitor. Some relationships are just like that. One person is doing all the talking, it’s all about them and they have no interest in what you feel or think. It is a one way, trade deficit relationship. They are treating you as if you have nothing of value to contribute to the conversation.

Here are three valuable tips to help us maintain a balance of trade in our relationships.

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