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LOVING PRESENTATION!       Maria #209       2/93       DO 2894
--Show a Loving Attitude, & Feelings Will Follow!
--By Maria.

       1. In communications & relations with others, your presentation is very important. If you have problems in this area & work on improving, you will find that it makes all the difference in the World in how people respond to you. If you can learn how to present yourself in a more acceptable way, you will see a noticeable difference in the response of people towards you.
       2.Even if you're fed up with yourself & don't see any hope of changing your habits or polishing your personality, there is one thing you can do!--Just learn some lines!--For God's sake & everyone else's sake too! Of course, if you're having problems in getting along with people, it would be preferable that you changed completely, changing your attitude & your habits & your life!--But if all you can manage to do is just learn a few lines & use them, you're going to find you get a much better response.
       3. It's just like witnessing in a way: If you're supposed to be going out witnessing but you don't feel like it, you go anyway. Or if you don't feel like smiling, you smile & you feel better. (See "Let Jesus Shine," Maria #57, DB3.) So even if you don't have it in you to really take these teens as your equals & put them on a co-worker level, at least if you can start by saying the right things, that may help your attitude to change too. At least it will certainly help their attitude towards you to change!
       4. People say, "Why should I smile if I'm not happy?"--Or, "How can I be affectionate when I don't feel like it?"--Or, "Why should I say things that I don't really mean?--How can that be honest?" Well, you can do it for the sake of others, that's one reason. If you love others, why don't you try to do it for them, even if you don't feel like it. It's simply another time when you can't judge a matter completely by your feelings, but by what you know from the Word about being loving, & not hurting & offending others, but helping them & encouraging them.
       5. What's the most important thing?--To be honest or to be loving? The answer, of course, is to be loving. For example, if you feel like screaming at somebody, but instead you hold back your emotions & try to be sweet to them instead, you could feel that you're not being sincere & you're not being honest.
       6. But I think the Lord will reward you more for being loving than if you just decide to let it all hang out & vent your emotions because you've decided, "We're supposed to be honest & we're supposed to really say what we mean, so let's just let our angry frustrations out!" Those negative feelings come from your old man & your evil old nature; you should cover up such feelings, & let the Lord's Spirit express itself through you in good words & acts.
       7. When thinking about this, the verse came to me that says, "The Love of Christ constraineth us" (2Cor.5:14). In other words, it restrains us from letting out frustrations, from being angry with people, or from being harsh with them. That's what our natural inclination is, what our natural man wants to do, but the Love of Jesus constrains us (which means "compels us") to do otherwise.
       8. What's the most important thing? The Lord says the most important thing is love. When you say something sweet to someone, even though your natural reaction may be to be angry or upset, you may think you're being a little "insincere" or "dishonest" at first. But don't worry or let that stop you, because if you go by faith & do what you know the Lord wants you to do, He will help your feelings to change. If you will just try to voice the words you should say, or show the affection or respect you should show, then the Lord will help your feelings to follow. And as time goes on, your feelings will match your actions & your words more & more. The Lord will reward your faith & your desire to do the right thing, even if you don't "feel" like it in a certain moment of time.

When You Don't Feel Like It, The Lord Can Come Through!
       9. The Word teaches us that it's good to learn what words are helpful to use with others, in verses like: "The heart of the righteous studieth to answer," &, "The Lord hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary" (Pro.15:28; Isa.50:4). But there is this problem about sincerity that comes up when you're trying to follow instructions like this, about relations with others. Articles about marriage, for example, say, "Go home & try again. You've become familiar with each other & you've argued with each other, but now go home & try to be sweet to each other. Here are the lines that you should say..." The wife feels, "This is being deceptive, this is being dishonest. I don't feel this way so I shouldn't say it." The husband says, "What are you doing?" and the wife says, "Well, I'm taking this course & they say I should say this & that." Then the husband says, "That's being deceptive! You shouldn't say it if you don't mean it!"
       10. But if you express love when you don't feel like it, it shows that while you may not feel like it, the Lord feels like it, & He needs to show that love through you. He's not being deceptive & He's not being dishonest, because the Lord really does love that person, & we are supposed to be showing the Lord & His Love to others. Whatever we feel is not nearly as important as what the Lord feels. It's what the Lord feels & what the Lord wants us to express that should be uppermost in our mind.
       11. You've got to remember that the feelings will follow. You might not mean it at first, but that's the way we learn to do things right. You have to follow the rule book in the beginning. You have to say or do things that you don't feel comfortable with & that are not natural to you.--We all have to do that. We shouldn't be suspicious of each other's motives & say, "You don't really mean that, do you? You were just told to say or do that." You teens will need to watch out for this attitude, because it will be very easy for you to think something like: "Oh yes, you don't mean that. You are just saying it because Mama Maria said you should."
       12. The point we're bringing out is this: Do you want to be shown the Lord's Love, or do you just want to see somebody's raw feelings? Why quibble over whether it's the person's feelings or the Lord's feelings!--Just be glad it's good feelings! I think I'd rather see the Lord's Love in someone than to see their old evil nature coming out! So I think you teens or anybody who's on the receiving end of such love & consideration should be very very thankful.
       13. You shouldn't wonder what a person's motives are or where the love is coming from or if they really mean it. Just thank the Lord if somebody can show you some love, no matter whether they feel it initially or not. Thank the Lord that it's His Love! Just remember that & don't look a gift horse in the mouth! If someone is showing you the Lord's Love, then you can know that it will last a lot longer, it will be more dependable, more sacrificial, more real.--Because while our human love may run out, His Love never fails!

When It's Good to Apologise
       14. In addition to finding the right things to say & new ways to express yourself or to address someone, you may also need to sit down with the person or persons toward whom you feel resentful or angry & apologise. If you can't seem to get along with someone, or you feel there is some kind of wall or friction building up between you, you can approach them lovingly & prayerfully, & ask them to pray for you & to forgive you for any ways in which you may have hurt them. You could also discuss the situation together and see if you can come up with any tips on how the two of you could have a better working relationship. If you humbly take the lower seat you may find that the other person or persons will also apologise for any problems they may have contributed to your interaction, & the Lord will bless your communication.
       15. By going to someone to apologise, or doing so via note or tape, you open up communication because you are not talking down to the person, & you're opening yourself up to seeing his side, his point of view on the situation. Again, honesty should not be used in talks like this as an excuse for spilling out all of your negative feelings & criticisms toward someone. But if you go to them & admit your failings, so that you can prayerfully seek a solution together, then if the same problem should crop up in the future, or if the other person is tempted to think that you are indeed upset with them again, you have gone on the record as saying that you do not want to be like that. The other person will know that you are praying to overcome any bad habits, failings, or whatever it may be that could be contributing to the friction or conflict, & they will be more understanding, as well as try to do their part to make your interaction go more smoothly.
       16. When admitting resentment, sensitivity, or other negative feelings, it's also good to ask the Lord for wisdom & prayerfully consider the effect that this disclosure may have on the other person. You don't want to bring negative feelings to light if it seems it could do more damage than good. I think that if you are pretty sure that the person doesn't have any inkling or even a feeling that you have had something against them in your heart, it might be better not to say anything. In such a case, you could consult with your Shepherd, or a Teen Shepherd if a teen is involved, as to whether it would be better for you to apologise for your feelings or just pray together with your Shepherd for the Lord to give you the victory. The Lord could change your feelings as an answer to prayer, through the Word & your working on the problem, without the other person being possibly saddened by knowing you had a trial about him or her.
       17. However, if you have made it pretty clear by the way you've spoken to a person or acted toward him or her that there is a problem, there's some friction, then I think it's important to talk about it & apologise.--And sometimes even if we think we've hidden our feelings, a wall or barrier can still exist so that a person can just feel that something is wrong even if there have been no angry words spoken. So it's important to straighten out any friction--not only by asking the Lord to take away any resentment or negative feelings, but also by either going to the person to apologise & pray together, or by going to your Shepherd to confess your wrong feelings & ask for prayer & advice as to how to make things right.
       18. Our young people look to us for our response, as a reflection of the way the Lord looks at them & would respond to them. We're supposed to be the Lord's representatives; we're supposed to have the mind of the Lord, we're supposed to have the Word, we're supposed to know what they need & what the Lord has for them. And if we don't show His Love towards them, they may become discouraged & feel very demeaned & belittled.

Learning New Things by Rote
       19. To meet this challenge for the sake of our young people, many are going to have to learn new lines by rote to begin with, in other words, like a mechanical routine learned by memory. That's how you learn things, that's how you form good habits, that's how you learn complicated maneuvers. It's like learning to type, or to drive, or to play a musical instrument, or operate a computer. It's always a little strange at first & it feels unnatural to make the right moves. But after you practise, the movements become second nature to you. After a while it's natural & comfortable to you to do it the right way, the way you've been taught & practised & learned. You have to learn certain things by rote.
       20. Initially you may not feel comfortable saying certain things, you're just memorising them. But after you get them memorised, then you don't have to think about it any more, & it becomes more natural, you can put more spirit into it. There's always the start of something new, when you're going to feel very unnatural & uncomfortable with what you're doing as you learn to do it.--But it's worth the effort.
       21. All kinds of books have been written nowadays on how to communicate--line by line, precept upon precept, word by word--& that's the way you have to learn it! Some ways are better for communicating than other ways. You can have a very wonderful heart, a soft warm heart & lots of love, but you may have to be helped to find practical ways of expressing that love. There's nothing really deceptive about it; that's the way we have to do things.
       22. When we're saved & we love the Lord & we feel such love for others, where does that get us? When you're first saved you just feel wonderful & you feel like you love everybody, but what does that do? It doesn't do much unless you go to the Rule Book & get the right Words that you can use with people which will result in their Salvation. Then they too will become happy & receive Jesus' Love.
       23. There are actually many System guidelines & rules that have been developed about how people should speak to each other: There are ways of expressing things that are the right way & will have the desired effect, & we just have to learn these ways, word by word, line by line. So if you have to learn to communicate all over again & you have to learn the exact words to say & the exact expressions for various situations, well, learn those things.
       24. Don't be too proud, just be willing to do whatever it takes, whatever you need to do to have the desired effect. There are so many ways you could present things, but some are sure to get a much better response than others.--And sometimes you have to stop and put thought into it, & pray about what would be the best presentation.
       25. I have to be very careful about the way I express things. I have to think about it & pray about it. The Lord would probably rather have you put a lot of prayer into what you say beforehand so that then when you do open your mouth He can fill it with what He really wants to fill it with.(See Psalm 81:10b.)
       26. I think a lot of people have this idea that that verse means that when they open their mouth they should say whatever comes into their head. But I think it's very important that we are very prayerful in how we present things to others. By our just opening our mouths & spouting whatever first comes into our head, people can be very hurt. Maybe not everyone has to, but I think most of us do need to take some thought about what we're going to say & how we approach people.
       27. We need to pray, "How am I going to ask them to do this?" "How am I going to instruct them in the use of this," or, "How am I going to counsel them in this?" There are all kinds of approaches you could take, but some are much better than others--much more considerate, much more loving, much more acceptable than others. There's nothing wrong, & in fact everything right with taking a little time to decide how you're going to talk to somebody & exactly how you're going to approach them & what you're going to say. Whenever I & our top leadership have something important to communicate with someone--either an important letter to write to them or some kind of serious counsel to give them--we pray very specifically about how to present it, & usually discuss together how to give the counsel so that people don't feel hurt or offended, but rather challenged & appreciated.
       28. If you've been not so skilled or not so experienced in taking the time & thinking & praying about your speech & your approach, then for a while you're going to have to almost work it out line by line before you do it. After a while it becomes more natural because you just learn to put yourself in the other person's shoes. You just learn by experience what people respond well to & what is the loving, considerate way to express yourself. You learn what will make them feel respected & feel good about you & about themselves & about the situation. You learn how to help them not feel intimidated, but to feel confident & loved & accepted.
       29. It really helps to lay down some guidelines & some do's & don'ts in talking with others. In addition to the Letters, in "How to Love," "Raise'em Right," & "Marvellous Marriage" there are many articles on this topic, as well as many that have appeared in the WND over the years. If we would follow those, we probably wouldn't have to learn anything else! Let's make a list of what to say & what not to say, so that we have somewhere to start.

Let Love & Trust Come Through
       30. Food can taste so different when it's prepared in different ways. There are hundreds of different ways to prepare potatoes & some ways people really respond to & other ways they don't. Some foods I like one way but I absolutely dislike them another way. To take a whole piece of fruit & eat it is a lot different than slicing it & eating the little slices, or cooking it. The consistency is different. It's just a little bit different preparation, & different presentations affect our reactions, even in food.
       31. So it's your presentation that counts. You could be getting across exactly the same idea, but in different ways.--And it helps so much to do it in a very loving, kind way that makes people feel good & makes them love you & makes them feel like you love them & you accept them & you have confidence in them & faith in them.
       32. You can tell them the same thing, but what you say can be accompanied by different emotions. One presentation can come along with a whole range of negative emotions & negative reactions, or it can come with a lot of loving positive feelings attached to it. That's the difference & that's the important thing.
       33. Actually the very most important thing is not the words you say, but it's the love & consideration & trust that people feel from you. Sometimes what you say may come out a little blunt & rough, but people will forgive you & overlook it if they see that you are attempting to show love & respect & consideration for them & their abilities.--Even if you fail to say exactly the right thing in every situation, if people feel and know that you love and trust them, that will be even more important to them than what you tell them.

Put Yourself in the Teens' Place
       34. I think we've all got to learn that some of our "little kids" aren't so little any more, but, lo & behold they've grown up!--And we need to be treating them more like peers & co-workers than children. People who have the easiest time doing this are the ones who are accustomed to not talking down to others, even if they are talking to children. They show children as much respect, dignity and consideration as they would a mature adult. Children have emotions & feelings & desires, & can be hurt & offended, & need love & appreciation & consideration just as we adults do.
       35. A child will behave more responsibly & maturely if he is talked to with the same respect you would give an adult. If he feels that you expect him to behave in a responsible way, then he'll more than likely try to fulfil your expectations. So if we know we should handle our children with positive expectations, how much more should we treat our young people with respect as co-workers, especially those who are adults already & much more responsible. We should try as much as possible to put ourselves in their place & communicate with them in the way that we would like to be communicated with if we were in a similar position.
       36. The sooner we start relating to our young people as adults in our communication with them, the more adult they will try to act. Talk to them with respect & not condescendingly, ask their opinions, address them directly. For example, when you're talking to adults & teens together, instead of directing everything to the adults, you should try to divide your conversation equally between adults & teens, so all can share in the conversation, & feel included.
       37. Also, when issuing instructions or requests to adults & teens, don't just address the adults. Don't say, for example, "Can you please take the teens to study hall now?" But direct your request right to the teens. This sounds fairly basic, but I have a feeling from what I've even done sometimes, that this kind of thing can happen very easily & unintentionally. You can be talking about the teens or wanting to give them some instruction, but instead of giving it directly to them, you give it to the adult who is there; & so you end up talking to the adult about the teens in front of the teens, which of course would make them uncomfortable.
       38. I think that's still the most important rule in interaction with anyone: Put yourself in their place & look at everything through their eyes & try to see how they see it & how they feel about it. If you were in their position, would you like to be talked to the way you're talking to them? You know you're supposed to be loving & considerate, but if you don't know how to carry that out in practical terms, just follow the rule of putting yourself in their place or "walking a mile in their shoes," & I think that should give you a pretty good indication of how to treat someone.
       39. Try to remember how you felt when you were 18, how you wanted people to treat you. Who did you look up to the most & why? It was probably because of their positive interaction with you & good open communication. They most likely treated you with respect & consideration, & you felt that they valued your opinions. When talking with them, you probably felt as though you were talking with an equal or a friend. When you were a teen yourself, in all probability you even got along better with your mother & dad if they treated you more like a friend or a co-worker. They probably managed to get you to do what they wanted this way better than with heavy-handed parental discipline.

It's Worth the Effort
       40. There are a lot of reasons for lack of good communication. People may feel insecure or they may not have enough time to communicate properly, they may assume things or look down on people--all kinds of problems, & there may be all kinds of reasons for the problem. But we don't have time right now to go into all of the reasons & figure out what they are. The main thing to do is just to do it the right way; just obey!
       41. Forget all the reasons for not communicating properly, just obey & do it the way you're supposed to do it, & the Lord will bless that. We can deal with all the reasons later. We don't have to worry about why we're a certain way & go back into our childhood & try to psychoanalyse ourselves or get someone else to do it for us. We can just obey the Lord & do what He says & ask for His deliverance from hindrances or problems, & He'll answer without us knowing all the reasons behind why we have had the problem in the first place.
       42. We don't have to know all the background & reasons for why we talk down to our teens or why we belittle them or why we don't respect them. There are a lot of reasons; different people have different reasons, but let's just forget that for the time being & just start doing the right thing & saying the right thing. At least that'll be a stop-gap measure, that'll be something that at least we can do to help the situation while we get these other problems sorted out.
       43. It's helpful if you know what the reasons are, of course; it's helpful to understand the problems that you are dealing with so you can pray & ask the Lord to help you correct them. But for the time being, the quickest way you can correct things is to just follow the script, & that should take care of the problem, at least temporarily, & that's the important thing to do to help our teens right now.
       44. Our poor teens aren't going to know how to communicate with adults, children or each other if we're communicating with them in such a shoddy, belittling, disrespectful manner. They're certainly not going to be able to learn from us how they should communicate properly. Unless we adults change, we're teaching them very very bad lessons & we're showing them a very bad sample that they're going to imitate & carry on. They're going to imitate this behaviour with each other, or with others younger than themselves, & it's very sad.
       45. So that's another reason why we'd better hurry up & start doing the right thing--so that they'll get the right message. No wonder we've heard reports about our teens being sarcastic amongst themselves, or shallow in their conversation, or talking rudely or impatiently to their younger brothers & sisters. Where did they get it from? They more than likely picked it up from adults. Kids are supposed to follow their parents' & their teachers' examples, but, sad to say, the examples they've seen haven't always been so good. So we adults shouldn't turn around & blame the teens for their behaviour when they more than likely just picked it up from us!
       46. That's why it's so important for all of us to concentrate on the presentation. It's very important to figure it out beforehand & try to see if you can find the best way of expressing yourself. Often you can do it better on paper. It takes longer, yes, but if you really do have something important to say or something that's a difficult situation, something you really want to express well, if you feel you can't do it in person, then try putting it on paper. Try giving yourself the time to pray about it & express it the way you would like to, in a loving, considerate way. So using paper is another option, something else that you can do to improve your presentation.
       47. But, of course, in your everyday interaction with teens, you aren't going to be able to write everything down, so you've just got to start trying to learn new ways to express yourself verbally that will be more acceptable & have a more favourable response. If your attitude is right & you really have the love & concern that you need & you are willing to take the time to put yourself in another's place, it seems like it shouldn't be too difficult to know how to communicate with the teens. And if you ask the Lord, He'll be sure to show you what to say & how to approach them with love, consideration, respect & encouragement. "If any man lack wisdom, let Him ask of God, Who giveth to all men liberally & upbraideth not, & it shall be given him" (Jam.1:5).

Here is a reaction from one of our women on this topic

       48. "When thinking about learning what to say to show love to others, & whether I'm being sincere when my feelings don't exactly match my actions or my words, I realised that I learned lessons about this in the past through FFing. When we were FFing, we met men whom we then saw again, or spent time with, because we felt the Lord wanted us to. It wasn't because of our personal feelings, or because we thought someone was handsome, etc., but because we would pray about who the Lord was leading us to, & then we would follow through according to how the Lord led.
       49. "So this was a case, many times, of following a script, of going through motions out of obedience to the Lord, of saying what we knew the Lord wanted us to say. We told the men we loved them, & it was purely because we knew that the Lord loved them. It wasn't because of our own personal feelings, or being so attracted to someone, or anything emotional at all--initially. In fact, most of the men I was with were not attractive. One of them, an Eastern man, described himself as 'short, brown, bald, bearded, & ugly!' Ha!
       50. "But as I stepped out & did what I knew the Lord wanted me to do, & told them of my love because of the Lord's Love, how He had picked them for a special reason, & how He loved them so much & wanted me to show them His Love, etc., the Lord then gave me strong feelings of love for these men. And they would feel it, too, & know it was real love. They didn't question it.--And because I talked about how it was God's Love, they knew it was from Him.
       51. "They would say things like, 'I feel something with you that I've never felt before.' One quite cynical man from a Communist country said when he'd only known me a couple of hours, 'You have so much love; is it because you believe?' One wrote me a whole poem about how my smiling at him across the room gave him hope when his spirit was totally discouraged & defeated.--Just a smile did so much for him, before I ever witnessed to him, though it did open up the door for the witness. I wasn't in love with these men, but as I did the 'wenting', the Lord would come through & give me so much love for them, that they would feel it & experience it, & they would be so grateful.
       52. "So in FFing, we really saw this principle work. As we stepped out & told them the words of love & Truth that the Lord wanted us to tell them, or gave them the affection that the Lord wanted us to give, He would give us real love for them. They didn't question our sincerity or our motives, because they were just so glad to have real love. This just shows how the Lord really blessed the 'lines' we learned. He has no mouth but ours, & He is pleased when we learn His script & follow through with it. We also use a script when we are learning to witness in a foreign language, or when praying written prayers. These examples all show me how I need to apply that rule more & learn more loving things to say in my daily interactions with others."

Copyright 1996 The Family