• How to Win Friends and Influence Everybody Else

  • LEA Weekly Devotional

    2008–2009 series: Red-Letter Days

    September 2, 2008


    Extended Reading: Romans 12:9–21


    How to Win Friends and Influence Everybody Else


    “Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good” (Romans 12:21 NLT).


    Copy Romans 12:9–21 on orange fluorescent paper and distribute it to parents, boards, and colleagues. Save a few for neighbors. They really need it. Next go out and purchase a case of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Give copies to the same people, because Romans is from the Bible, and they probably want to hear what a time-honored businessman has to say on the subject. (Do not skip the first step. As a church worker, people expect you to include religious stuff in all that you do.)


    Whoops. Seems like my sarcasm violated at least verses 9, 10, 16, and possibly 18 just in the first paragraph! And the first paragraph was way too long, therefore violating at least one principle of good writing.


    Carnegie’s book was a hit.* People wanted to improve sales and relate better. Reading How to Win Friends and Influence People is like reading an updated book of Proverbs. Every church worker should read it. The Bible,* however, had different motivation. People read it to learn how to be saved (and act like it). Every church worker should read it.


    Educators are good at dispensing advice. It felt good to tell you a thing or two in the paragraphs above. Then the rude awakening. I had to talk to myself too. Sometimes we need a good talking-to from ourselves. We need to practice what we teach. (Note: If anyone catches you talking to yourself, just utter and audible “amen,” smile as if you just obeyed all 10 Commandments, and don’t stop to explain.)


    Jesus always practiced what He taught. His disciples never were nor ever will be as good at it, but we want to be, and we repent when we don’t deliver. We truly practice and practice and practice. Because practice never will make perfect in life’s current phase, we praise and thank Jesus for earning our forgiveness. (A good thing to remember as we teach children and interact with families and colleagues.)


    How to win friends and influence everybody else? Forgiveness is a key.


    I tuned in to my usual radio station on the morning that I wrote this devotional. The host invited people to call in and publicly apologize to someone they had hurt. (It was not a religious station.) After the callers completed their message, the host asked how it felt to say “I’m sorry.” Callers agreed that it felt good. They were relieved. They hoped their act would re-win friends and influence people to a healed relationship.


    Wow! Can you relate? Do you have some questions?

    We know the cleansing associated with confession, but we also need to hear the healing balm of absolution. It does more than make us feel good. It actually makes us good when pronounced by God. (See last week’s devotional.)


    Does apology always improve feelings? How about that sorry student who never is? How about the forced confession of someone not truly contrite? And how about lingering guilt in people who know God’s forgiveness but who can’t forgive themselves? Good thing forgiveness is more than a feeling. Coming from God, forgiveness is a reality won by Jesus and freely transmitted by the Holy Spirit.


    Win friends. Influence everybody else. Do it in response to how Jesus won and influenced you. (And reread the books.)



    *Carnegie’s book has sold 15 million copies and was on The New York Times best-seller list for 15 years. The Bible has sold over 1 billion copies.



    Written by Edward Grube, LL.D.

    Director of Publications & Communications

    © 2008 Lutheran Education Association



    Scripture quotations identified as NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.



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