It is clear that some individuals have more influence than others. It is not a matter of education or place in life. Rather it is a matter of certain skills that increase our influence with others. These skills are available to everyone and they are essential for believers who want to make a difference for Jesus in their corner of the world.
1. The ability to treat all people with the grace of Jesus. It is the skill of love, acceptance and grace which overlooks flaws, sin and dysfunction and just accepts people for who they are. And then graciously points them to Jesus, the One who is the paradigm of grace.
2. The ability to speak words of encouragement and grace rather than words of condemnation. There is a place for speaking truth but we are too quick to condemn rather than to love, to criticize rather than to encourage and to take the role of the Holy Spirit to fix people rather than to let the Lord work in their lives.
3. The ability to see the potential in people rather then their flaws. We all have flaws. Often we are most critical about the flaws in others that are similar to our own, All of us gravitate to those who accept us as we are and see our potential rather than our fractures.
4. The ability to forgive easily and handle conflict biblically. If we desire influence we need to forgive quickly and resolve differences quickly and with humility. The ability to stay in relationship is one of the most important skills we could develop. It is OK to disagree and still be in relationship. Jesus did it quite well.
5. The willingness to step into tough situations with the love of Jesus and the help that we can give. If we flee from messy situations we lose out on our greatest influence. Being willing to enter into the mess and bring the love or help of Jesus yields great influence.
6. The ability to not get enmeshed with other people's issues which often creates distance from those others are distant from. We control our friendships and need not divide from those others divide from.
7. The ability to hold our own counsel in tough situations. Sometimes we need to speak truth in love. Often we are better off keeping our thoughts to ourselves and not creating conflict where it is not needed - from us. Wisdom and discernment in what we say and write (email) is a huge part of our influence.
8. The ability to be flexible when things don't go our own way. Drawing unnecessary lines in the sand divides rather than unites. Influence requires flexibility and adaptability.
9. The ability to be patient with our personal agendas or goals when they don't go as we desire. Life is like that.
10. The ability to see others and love others as Jesus sees them and loves them. Might be the hardest skill to learn but it is why we can live in God's grace as he does it with us. People are quirky - even you and I. Jesus sees beyond our quirks and so should we.
All of T.J. Addington's books including his latest, Deep Influence, are available from the author for the lowest prices and a $2.00 per book discount on orders of ten or more.