by John Fischer
One of our readers from a few years ago introduced us to a term from her training as a massage therapist known as UPR (“Unconditional Positive Regard”). I’m bringing it up again because I think this is an excellent tool for helping us think about people who may or may not be Christians.
This is an excellent way we can cut through people’s barriers and preconceptions about Christians and Christianity. Get to know people first as human beings. Don’t lead with your Christianity; lead with your love, care and friendliness. Find common ground with people and show an interest in what interests them. (A good reason, by the way, for having lots of varied interests and concerns. The more interests you have, the more people you can connect to.)
Listen. Learn. Develop meaningful relationships based on shared concerns and then when someone finds out you are “one of those Christians,” they will have to rethink their idea of what a Christian is, or make an exception for you. Either way, you’ve broken through their resistance, and who knows what might happen after that?
To this end, I think we should borrow this phrase from our reader’s massage therapy manual and give out lots of Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR) to everyone we meet. I can’t think of a better way to express how we should regard all people. Everyone is made in God’s image, loved by God, forgiven by Jesus, and precious in His sight. That’s a lot of positive regard, and that’s just for starters!
1 Peter 3:15 says: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” – “respect” being the operable word here. Let’s focus on giving out lots of UPR today!