How many times have you heard that statement? It seems that just when someone has said something that affects you most personally, he or she, quickly adds, ” It’s not personal.” Really?
The iconic movie, The Godfather, is probably the identifier, especially for men, with this statement. The godfather lets his people know that there are just some actions you take for the sake of business. It has nothing to do with personalities or feelings. It’s business. It’s Not Personal. Likewise, a later version of this attitude is displayed in the movie, You’ve Got Mail. Meg Ryan’s character, nails my personal feelings about the phrase, “It’s Not Personal, when she says that an action taken by someone who harms you or disappoints you just might be easier to take if it were personal. At least it would show that you had some degree of feeling or empathy for what you have done or said. Exactly!
So,why am I going on about this.? Well, very recently, I was in a church meeting. One member was very adamant about what he perceived as a gross violation of procedure, and he created an uncomfortable atmosphere for many of the people in the room. After his comments and his reasons for them, he added in an attempt to put things in perspective, “It’s not Personal.” Really? Remember, I said that this was a meeting of people in church. We were dealing with affairs of the church. What could possibly be more personal? All that we do should be personal. When we decide to give our hearts to Jesus and follow him everything becomes personal.
Personal relationships can create the foundation for love, protection, and trust because everything matters. When decisions are made on the basis of personal outcomes, we are more careful about our choices. We are less self-centered and more other-directed. Thankfully, God has given us a model of personal responsibility. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Sure, we will have disagreements and differences of opinions. However, if we approach our differences from a point of personal outcome and concern for the other persons involved, our differences will not harm us. If we consider the power of the tongue, we will create a nurturing environment that heals us. In the book of James, we are reminded to be quick to listen and slow to speak. When things are personal, it matters what others have to say. We can hear a little of what is in someone’s heart when we really listen.
At the heart of the matter, we are made for relationships. Loving relationships help us to behave as loving people. It is all personal!