“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3 NIV)
My daughter Mary, was running some supplies into the gas station. As she left with the box, five-year-old Ade asked why Mommy was taking those tiny rolls of toilet paper into the gas station. My first reaction, which I did not act upon, was to burst out laughing. For Ade had mistaken the small, white, round paper replacement rolls for the ATM machine for rolls of toilet paper for the gas stations rest rooms. She just couldn’t figure out why they were so small!
After I explained to Ade, what she had really seen, though they did indeed look like mini rolls of toilet paper, she felt quite pleased to have learned something new. And I know she will not make the same mistake again.
Later, I told my daughter, in private about Ade’s question and we both had a good laugh. But amidst our laughter I also thought about how important it is to not belittle others when they make honest mistakes simply because they may not have the experience or knowledge to actually know what they are seeing or saying or doing. For knowing something, that others don’t should never give us reason to consider ourselves better than them. Rather as Paul wrote to the Philippians, we should never do anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. For when we do, we are actually putting others down. Something that is abusive and hurtful and often closes any door which may have been opening in regards to sharing the love of Christ with them.
Instead, let us in humility, ask the Spirit to cultivate within us a spirit of kindness and gentleness to share what knowledge we may have been given, not to build ourselves up but to build others up, that they might be glad that they have learned something new rather than feeling belittled by their mistake or lack of understanding. For such Christ-like behaviour opens, rather than closes doors.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that You never belittle or ridicule us in our ignorance. Rather You guide us through the power of Your Holy Spirit to grow and mature and learn about Your ways and love, so that we in turn, might humbly do likewise to others. In Christ’s name we are thankful. Amen.
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada