Looking At Others
“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4). What we think drives and shapes all we do. What we think also affects how we behave in every moment and situation. What we think about people also affects how we treat them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life consists of what a man is thinking about all day.” John Locke said, “The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.” What and how we think moves us. Good thoughts influence our emotions, which influence our behavior, which results in positive consequences. The reverse is also true. Bad thoughts influence our emotions, which influence our behavior, which results in negative, painful consequences.” Solomon said, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.”
So much of how we see others is based on how smart they are, how athletic they are, how pretty/handsome they are, and how witty they are. If, however, you are clumsy, dumb, dull, and ugly, then you are nobody. Yet God does not see as man sees. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). What would happen if we began to see people as God sees them? We often try to see the heart, but get distracted by the status, possessions, appearance, and intellect. What would happen if we made an effort to put ourselves in the shoes of others and understand them better? What would happen if we looked out for the interests of others rather than our own?
Seeing each other as God sees us will require selflessness. If we possess the mind of Christ, we will empty ourselves of ourselves. We will be a servant. A servant is interested on one thing, not how he may serve his own interests, but how he may best serve the interest of his master. What if we had the selfless heart in our marriages? Would there be any strife? Any infidelity? What about the family in general? Would there be any envy or backbiting? What if we had the mind of Christ in our congregation? Would there be any strife? Any infighting? See, if I have no ground to defend, then all I have to give is what is in your best interest. Zig Ziglar said, “In order to get what we want, we have to help others get what they want.” All want affirmation, affection, appreciation, and approval. Will I be selfless enough to see the interests of others?
Seeing each other as God sees us will also require humility. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Phil. 2:3). Humility is best illustrated by King Saul. When he was little in his own eyes he was successful. Being little in our own eyes is humility. Humility is the ability to see beyond ourselves; see the true abilities and value of other people. Humility does not see oneself as no higher than a dog. Humility realizes one’s self-worth. But it also realizes the worth of others and puts them before self. As long as we can remain little in our own eyes, we have nothing personally to defend. We can supply what others need: appreciation, affirmation, approval, and affection.
We can see others as God sees us. Look at the heart of people. Most want to do what is right and please God. Give them a chance.