Value Others Above Yourselves
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. ~Philippians 2:1-4
A strange shift has been going on for quite some time in Christian culture, a shift that seems to be moving towards acceptance of the logic of the world. It has become acceptable and even applauded when we treat others poorly if we don’t agree with them. I think that the pandemic and the gaping political chasm has only magnified a problem that was already there.
We are a people who like to be right and we don’t like it when others don’t agree with us. And so we justify our poor treatment of others by saying that it’s our integrity that keeps us from being kind. We lived in peace and unity until we discovered that the person sitting at the other end of the pew actually has a different political opinion than ours. We “write off” people who don’t agree with us. We demean those who have different perspectives. We condemn and berate and slander with ease.
How did this happen?
I think it started when we started thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought. We became proud of our ability to discern the state of someone’s heart. We gained followers when we were bold. Others looked up to us when we were able to speak with the tongues of men and of angels.
We forgot to love.
Oh, Christian friends! We’re missing it. When we argue with others in the same way the world argues, we’re missing it. When we put some down, even with the right desire to build others up, we’re missing it. When we sit in the seats of the scoffer, we’re missing it.
This doesn’t mean that there is never a place for challenging others or for disagreements. But how we do it and when we do it speaks volumes. If we do it without love, we become a resounding gong and a clanging cymbal.
Could you imagine what would happen if everyone would value others as better than themselves? We would no longer need to fight against injustices, because there wouldn’t be any. We wouldn’t have racial, political or socioeconomic divides. We wouldn’t have mass shootings. We wouldn’t have sibling rivalry or bullying. We would no longer judge others based on assumptions or hearsay, but only on truth and in grace.
If you claim to be a Christ-follower, than it starts with you. And it starts with me.
Value others above yourself.