By: Gary L. Hutchens
Most of us were probably instructed by our parents to “Be considerate of others.” The inspiration for that instruction did not originate with Mom and Dad. The principle comes from God’s word and is referred to as “The Golden Rule”: “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” (Luke 6:31). We paraphrase it by saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Christians are to consider not just themselves, their own needs and desires, but also the needs and desires of others. The Hebrews writer instructed, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:24). Our regular thinking should include, How can I encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ in their spiritual lives?
The Apostle Paul instructed, “ Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;” (Romans 12:10). We’re going through a time right now in which many people are irrationally fearful. They’re going to grocery stores and practicing panic buying, purchasing far more than they need and thereby limiting what is available for the needs of others. I heard a story of one man approaching his car with a grocery shopping cart filled with meat. Did he really need to buy that much meat for himself and his family all at once? Did his purchase, and others similar to his, leave other people without meat for their family needs?
And that’s just one example. Apparently, it’s much worse in some parts of the country than in others. Irrational fear breeds more irrational fear which breeds general panic. If uncontrolled, such emotions can lead to violence. We need to take a step back and recognize that this is not the end of the world, it’s not an apocalypse. It’s another pandemic/epidemic similar to many others that have arisen and then went away throughout the history of this world. Remember the Bubonic Plague? Spanish Flu? Sars? Bird Flu? Swine Flu? Ebola? This, too, will pass, just as all of its predecessors did!
While we’re still working our way through this, let’s be considerate of others and their needs. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (Philippians 2:3). Considering the needs of others can actually be therapeutic in helping us see our own situation in a more positive light.
An interesting text is found in Hebrews 13:1-2: “Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” Intriguing thought, isn’t it? We need to be careful to not let ourselves devolve into unnecessary behavior that, later on, we’ll end up being ashamed of.
It’s easy to treat others right when everything is going well. A real test of Christianity and godliness is to be especially mindful of treating others right when is might seem difficult to do so. Let the light of Christ shine forth through your example, especially during this challenging time, as you remember to be considerate of others…
Gary L. Hutchens