by Brandy Webb
Have you ever watched a group of toddlers play with toys? Many go for the best toys in the pile. Snatching it away and staring down the other kids as if to say, “I dare you to try to take this away from me.” I believe they are still in the “the world revolves around me” stage of life. Which, we understand that children don’t quite grasp sharing, being nice, knowing how to put others first, because they are little, and they have yet to learn how to treat others. What is our excuse, though, when we act the same way?
We may not be fighting over toys, but what about the fight over being first or having the best house, car, job, and so on? How many times have we thrown “tantrums” because things didn’t go the way we wanted them to go? Have you ever caught yourself feeling a little jealous because someone you know received something you wanted? Or, how about getting frustrated because no one agrees with what you want to do or your opinion?
Trust me, I do believe I’m speaking to myself here also. When do we finally get out of the stage of “I want the world to revolve around me”? I believe it is one reason why so many of us are discontent. We need to get out of ourselves. If we are always focusing on how life is treating us, how are we supposed to practice treating others better than ourselves? We are to act like Christ, and Paul is very clear: in order to live Christ-like, we are to live a life where we do not do things “through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than” ourselves (Phil 2:3). We are to look not only to our own things, but also to the things of others (Phil 2:4). This is exactly the way Christ lived (Phil 2:5). I mean to be honest, the world is supposed to revolve around the Messiah, but He decided to willingly leave Heaven, to save us. He is the supreme example of putting others first.
Seriously, aren’t most arguments, disputes, splits, etc., because we are selfish and can’t seem to get out of ourselves? We feel threatened or unappreciated or both when we aren’t treated the way we want to be treated. Yet, I have never found anywhere in the Bible that gives us justification for getting angry when we aren’t treated the way we want to be treated. In fact, we are to treat others the way we want to be treated regardless whether they “deserve” it, if they never reciprocate it, and even if they don’t even appreciate it. There are no loopholes in how we are to act. Did Stephen throw stones back? No, he actually asked God to forgive them (Acts 7:60).
Just think of how content with our lives we could be, if we truly worked hard on being Christ-like. If we made sure that “no corrupting talk [came] out of [our] mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:29). We are not to be bitter, wrathful, and full of anger. In fact, we are to remove these traits from our lives, and “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave” us (Eph 4:30-32). Also, we are not to even “rejoice when [our] enemy falls, and let not [our] heart be glad when he stumbles” (Prov 24:17). This is not a worldly concept. I mean, have you ever heard the statement, “Well, I can’t wait till he [or she] reaps what they have sown”? Obviously, this isn’t how we are supposed to think, nor what we are supposed to say.
I believe we all want to live contented, peaceful, and joyful lives. One way we can move towards that goal, even in this evil world, is to get out of ourselves and think about others instead. Practice what the Bible teaches. Be a light to others, it not only will brighten their day, but it will also brighten ours. Most importantly, be active in love towards others, and remember…
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Cor 13:4-8, 13).