Letter from Laurence – A high view of people

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World View

A World View refers to a framework of ideas and beliefs forming a global description through which an individual, group or culture watches and interprets the world and interacts with it.

In other words this is a fundamental belief deep inside a person which they may or may not be consciously aware of, which shapes their opinions and actions.
It is possible to have a world view that is fundamentally anti-Christian which can nevertheless be overlaid with Christian ideas and beliefs. And given the right circumstances the underlying world view comes to the fore. As an extreme example this was seen in the genocide in Rwanda where a long term tribal belief of superiority was overlaid with Christianity.

So I think it is important for us as Christians in our practical day to day lives to have some simple but powerfully held convictions that form our world view. And I want to explore just one in this letter: a high view of people.

In Genesis we learn that we are all created in the image of God. In 2 Corinthians 5 v 14 we learn that Christ died for all. What these verses tell us is that every individual, regardless of background, race or culture, shares the same innate value and therefore everyone is important and significant.

So imagine this idea being worked out. I met a young woman who had heard me speak about a high view of people and how it shapes our behaviour and she told me her experience of her new job. She worked in a corner of a large open plan office and as chance would have it ended up in ‘the corner from hell’, with 5 or 6 co-workers who were extremely difficult to work with. But she treated them in accordance with her world view; she made them coffee, did their work for them when they had not done it, covered for them, brought cakes in … and slowly but surely the environment of this corner changed, as others began to embrace this world view. Soon everyone was making the coffee and looking after one another. A little corner of hell was transformed into a small piece of heaven.

As another example, I spoke several years ago to a gentleman who was a senior partner in a marketing partnership. A client sent them a very large cheque as payment for an invoice. The senior partner, who had a high view of people, was troubled by the amount of work the company had done to justify such a large invoice. So he took it to the partner’s meeting and asked the question ‘How much work did we actually do?’ ‘Not a lot’ said one, ‘we stuffed him’. And so the senior partner then asked ‘What do we think of this?’ A junior partner who perhaps had the most to lose said perhaps they had done wrong, and because the customer was important they should apologise and re-invoice for a more appropriate amount, which they did, and they gained a faithful customer.

In these stories, world view changes people’s behaviour. The author CS Lewis was asked ‘What is heaven like?’ ‘People are very polite’ he replied. In other words they see the real value of people and act accordingly. And this is why I try to be a good neighbour, stand up in crowded trains as appropriate, etc. Good manners should be the hallmark of our community as Christians, being a good neighbour the outflow of our world view, reaching out and caring for the lost a natural reflex. So let’s pray, as the apostle Paul encouraged us in Romans 12 v 2, that our minds can be renewed with God’s way of thinking.

Your friend,

Laurence Singlehurst