Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Who Is On The Lord's Side"1 (Lyrics)
Philippians 2:3 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (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. Ade thought that the small, white, round paper replacement rolls for the credit card reader were rolls of toilet paper for the gas station's restrooms. She just couldn't figure out why they were so small!
After I had 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. I know that 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 not to belittle others when they make honest mistakes simply because they don't have the experience or knowledge to know what they are seeing or saying or doing. Knowing something that others don't should never give us reason to consider ourselves better than they are. Rather, as Paul wrote in today's verse, we should never do anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. For when we do, we are actually putting others down. Things that are abusive and hurtful may often close any door which may have been opening in regard to sharing the love of Christ with them.
Instead, in humility, let us ask the Spirit to cultivate within us a spirit of kindness and gentleness to share the knowledge that we 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 feel belittled by their mistake or lack of understanding. Such Christlike behaviour opens, rather than closes doors.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that You never belittle or ridicule us in our ignorance. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, guide us 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.