This is an excerpt from my newly revised book, Victorious Mindsets.
“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).
Taking the high road means maintaining integrity and honor even when others don’t. David did this when King Saul was trying to kill him (1 Samuel 24 & 26). Jesus did so when He spoke with Caiaphas (Matthew 26:62-74). Jonathan took the high road when David was chosen instead of him for the throne. Paul did so with the high priest (Acts 23:1-5). The Bible is full of people who took the high road, and Scripture has numerous truths and commands that show us how to do the same (especially the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7). Taking the high road entails believing that doing things God’s way will have benefits in this life and for eternity.
When we take the low road in situations, we usually react out of hurt, anger, or fear. Our emotions lead us to do and say things we often regret. We defend ourselves by tearing others down. We spread the “truth” about those we believe have wounded us and, when we finally call it quits, we burn bridges with acidic parting shots laced with pain.
Those who take the high road realize this truth: if this does not work out, God has something better ahead. They bless those who hate them or spitefully use them. They forgive when mistreated. They do everything possible to keep relational bridges intact so there can be healing and forward movement in the days ahead. They have learned to hold their tongues and trust God to lift their heads. They process pain with courage and live in an incredible mindset of nobility in all they do. Let’s do it, too.
LIES TO OVERCOME IN POSSESSING THIS MINDSET
God is surprised and completely hindered by what the people in my life are doing
Anyone who disagrees with me is evil and my enemy
If I don’t speak everything I feel, I am inauthentic and weak
Taking the high road means I will never confront injustice
Honesty and integrity make me an ineffectual doormat
DECLARATIONS TO STRENGTHEN THIS MINDSET
I respond to others’ bad decisions with peace and integrity
I am known as a person of honor and respect
The Holy Spirit is empowering me to turn my areas of past compromise into purity and excellence
I build—not burn—relational bridges
Even if taking the high road seems to have negative consequences, I will not compromise my principles
Determine your core values in responding to relational conflict – These could include: 1) Not talking about the problem to people who are not a part of the solution 2) Seeking to understand before seeking to be understood 3) Refusing to be a dumping ground for people’s bitterness and negativity and 4) Valuing prayer as a major weapon in hearing from the Lord and bringing about change.
Read the Book of Proverbs regularly – There are 31 chapters to this wonderful Bible book—one for every day of the month. It is a gold mine for those learning to take the high road, offering wisdom about our words, choices, and attitudes.
Take the steps necessary to build and maintain trust – Low-road takers who treat people poorly in high-pressure situations and compromise their integrity through dishonesty and commitment-breaking will increasingly lose trust with people around them. Trust is the currency of influence. Our influence will grow as people determine we are safe; when we are reliable, treat people with respect, and admit to and correct our mistakes.
Please note: I am not saying that “high road takers” should allow people to continually walk all over them or to allow their family or themselves to be abused. I am not saying you should never confront people or stand against injustice.
Victorious Mindsets is a devotional book that has fifty specific mindsets to be believed and declared to enhance greater freedom, victory, and influence. More information on the book is here.
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.