Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 HCSB
I’d had a long day. I was exhausted, and he was filling my aching head with 13-year-old boy noises – silly, repetitive songs and raspberries. From my point of view, this was incredibly annoying, and so I felt perfectly justified in snapping at him. It felt good to speak sharply, to let him know exactly how his actions were affecting me. He should be more respectful of me than to mindlessly make noise when I was tired!
But, with my verbal dagger, my son’s smile faded and his shoulders slumped. He walked out of the room, and I realized I had lost a chance to enjoy a few moments of fading childhood with my boy. I was too focused on myself – my tiredness, my annoyance – to think how my words would affect him, make him feel.
Of course he forgave me, and even today, he’s up to the same antics. But the point isn’t that I had a poor mothering moment. The point is that I had a me-centered moment, and that happens far too often, especially as I relate to those closest to me. If I am in the midst of the argument, I think of how hurt I am and how right I am – not on how my words may be hurting the one I’ve squared off against. Even if I’m not arguing, I am often trying to figure out how to arrange my life to satisfy myself instead of how to arrange it to meet the needs of those around me.
And Jen was so right in yesterday’s post. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we sinful humans rise above our innate selfishness. When I am filled with the Spirit of the One who sacrificed Himself for me, I can and do put the interests of others before my own.
But it is a daily – no, a moment-by-moment – choice to do so, to yield to God’s power, to put myself under His authority. When I do, I can live out these verses. When I don’t – well, I fall flat on my face.
Imagine a world where all of us lived out these verses. What a unselfish, peaceful world that would be.