Considering an Almost New Season
Sometimes it is difficult to put other people before ourselves, especially when we are bombarded with issues and problems of our own. But in our world today, considering others over ourselves may just be more important than ever. It is too easy to focus on ourselves when life overwhelms us, and we can’t see past our issues. And occasionally, it is just as easy to forget about others when we are on top of life and all is well. However, considering others, whether life is going great or it is in the pits, should always be at the top of our list. Not only is considering others the “nice” thing to do, it is through this type of love that the requirements of God’s law are met.
We are now into September and fall is just around the corner for those in my hemisphere. A lot of people are talking about the upcoming season with great flair. Pumpkin Spice everything seems to be on a lot of minds from restaurants to do-it-yourselfers rushing the season of cooler temps, the soothing yet vibrant colors of autumn, and the spice smells of warmth and comfort. It seems that people are just ready to move forward, seeking relief perhaps from the pandemic, and just gaining some sense of control and normalcy, whatever that may be. There is something about this time of year and school being back in session in some form or fashion reminding us that it is time to get “back to work” and put control in order.
Expectations of Control
When order and control are sought, some expectations must be met. These expectations are generally set with the thought of considering others first. This is very necessary for the school classroom where so many students from different backgrounds come together. Teachers have certain expectations or what they consider proper behavior for the classroom to be a place of positive learning. These classroom rules are posted, and students mostly agree to the community rules. This is not a new concept and one in which we are familiar with as society’s rules and laws are similar.
I read recently, however, that in one teacher’s classroom there is an intriguing consequence if someone breaks a classroom rule. When a community rule is broken the student, who chooses to do so, is assigned to a special chair labeled as the “Stop and Think” chair. It is in this chair that the student must think about the actions they exhibited and determine what they must do to return to the classroom community. Perhaps we all need such a chair.
Stop, Think, & Pray
What if we all were forced to stop and think about our actions when we forgot that considering others should always come to mind before ourselves. Could this work in public settings too, like our nation’s capital, communities, churches, and workplaces? A designated spot that when our selfish thoughts come to mind or we step over the line and break a community rule we immediately stop, think, and pray.
But is considering others only necessary when a community rule or law is broken? I don’t think so, for it is easy to excuse our indifference to others if we have no legal obligation to help them. Too often there are even attempts to justify harming others if our actions are technically legal. But if we look to Christ and the law of love, He leaves no such escape clause. And perhaps if we turn to stillness while thinking and praying, life on earth might just result in a better place. Furthermore, just maybe in this time of silence and thoughtful pose the Holy Spirit would fill us and intervene in a better way.
When we stop, think, and pray first, considering others will always come to the forefront. This is where love takes over and it is the law of love that all Christians are commanded to obey. And it is this law that trumps both religious and civil laws. This is because love fulfills all the requirements of God. It seems that anytime our selfish desires begin to take over, it is time to stop, think, and pray to allow love to take over.
Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.Romans 13:10 (NLT)
Considering Others – the Only Way to Love
Considering others must come first as it is the only way to love others. Whenever love demands it, we are to go beyond human legal requirements and imitate the God of love. The Golden rule is the order of life as we must treat all people as we want to be treated. This also means that we should not ignore or favor those that are admired for neither of these show love. And it is in this same way that we must not ignore those that can’t offer anything to us in return.
As Christians, we should recognize that we hold freedom in Christ and should allow our freedom to be a light of joy and love to others. We are accountable for our freedom in Christ through our actions and devotions to others. It is necessary to look for the good in people and not be quick to find fault. In this way, we see people from a different perspective, God’s perspective.
If we fail to love, we break God’s law. It is important to examine both our attitudes and actions toward others. Do we find ourselves building them up or tearing them down? When we find ourselves ready to criticize maybe it is time to stop, think, and pray. For in this way, we can remember God’s law of love and find the good instead. Choosing to say something beneficial to someone else will help heal ourselves from finding fault in others. This in turn will increase our ability to obey God’s law of love. When a correction is warranted the sandwich method is always best. Say something good, say something constructive, and end by saying something good again. In this way, love shines through even when the difficult must be said.
A Season of Considering Others First
So, as you end one season and look to another, be challenged to make it a season where you consider others first. Root your convictions in the words and actions of Christ where He commanded the law of love and always demonstrated it. Seek your motivation in knowing that when you stop, think, and pray first, your actions can make the world around you a better place. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that you hold freedom in Christ because of His love.
Love in Christ,
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’Martin Luther King, Jr.
What are Your Thoughts?
Do you find considering others sometimes difficult when the world presses in around you? What are your thoughts on recognizing the need to stop, think, and pray to move forward in love? Share your thoughts on the law of love commanded by God.