Dealing with people in ways that are kind,
Is one thing that God makes sure we find;
When we allow people to kindly save face,
There’s a blessing known, and that is God’s grace.
Intelligent people deserve the kind of respect that exemplifies God’s grace between two people. When we are in the position of mentoring or leading someone or a people – and these people or persons have sufficient moral intelligence as to relate with us as real people, nothing held back – we are obligated to deal with them gracefully.
Dealing with people gracefully is about allowing them to come to their own conclusions, as we journey with them conversationally. There are no rules in relationships, but there is plenty of space for reflection – where thoughts may be shared aloud; as thoughts. There are very few situations where we will need to play hardball, and playing straight down the line is more likely to separate close friends than to draw pleasant enemies. Why would we exasperate what God has not yet finished with – the relational dynamic that is us and them?
This is where reverse psychology comes in. When those seeking our advice ask for an out, we can cooperate with them and imagine what the experience would look like once they are out of the situation. Or maybe they want to do something they probably shouldn’t do; what is our advice then? We imagine the experience with them and consider the possible consequences. We use questions. We try to be encouraging and sufficiently upbeat.
We tackle this from the aspect that it isn’t our life we are living; it’s theirs.
There is no common trickery in using reverse psychology, because we are simply journeying with the other person as if they were having a conversation with themselves, as two people uniquely fitted and capable of determining a good course of action for the one person.
That is the biggest favour we can do as we interact with them: to treat them in such a dignified fashion that our own material – yet, not God’s wisdom – is no barrier to their decision-making. We want God’s wisdom to emerge, so we offer ourselves in such a way as to be surrendered to God as a vessel for his wisdom through which to flow out into the conversation.
God’s grace in relationships is about allowing people to save face when and if we disagree. We are not always gifted with the perspective we need. Sometimes God reveals things to us over time. Reverse psychology and God’s grace go together when we get our opinions out of their way, and we can see life from theirs and God’s perspective.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.