Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil; cling to that which is
good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one
another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope;
patient in tribulation; continuing [diligently] in prayer; Distributing to the necessity
of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one
toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in
your own conceits (Rom.12:9-16).
We struggle for uniqueness, and we strive for
individuality. Our hope is that we find ourselves, our purpose and our place in this
world. A place in this world that was made specifically for us. A place that no one else
can fill. We seek a place wherein we feel that we are the perfect fit and that we are
somehow special as an individual. And this is not just a fact of growth as a person, it
has become a right of ascension in a society where we have adopted the attitude of looking
out for number one.
And it is not enough that I find who I am as a person, a family member or even a
Christian; I will strive so that others will also see my importance and all that there is
that makes me a special and unique individual. While many would say that there is nothing
wrong with such behavior, we should not overlook the fact that as we strive for
independence and individuality, our focus becomes more and more self-centered. So much so
that it becomes harder and harder to truly see things from anther's point of view, or
perhaps even suffer with them when they suffer or be joyful when they are joyful.
It seems to be the trend to find creative ways to build one's self-esteem. And while it is
necessary for us not to see ourselves as less than we are, it is also dangerous to
over inflate our personal viewpoints of ourselves to an extreme and idealistic distorted
level. What's more is that we should not think we need to find ways to boost ourselves and
our self worth, it seems to be a natural tendency to promote one's self or to even distort
the truth in favor of a better reflection of who we are. We seem to naturally gravitate
toward whatever is good for the self while neglecting our effect on the whole of society,
or even on those closest to us.
We are not an island. Yet we live our lives acting as if what we do or say carries very
little weight. But if we stop being so narrow-minded, looking solely to our own existence
as though we are the center of the universe, we might discover that we are just a small
part of a much greater whole. We are responsible for far more than just ourselves, for
everything we say or do ripples outwardly into the lives of those around us. No where does
God say to us that He wants us to do as we please or that we should go out and build a
life and lifestyle that is centered around ourselves. Instead, we are frequently
instructed that we should "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in
humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your
own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Phil.2:3-4).
We are all together. And what one does affects the others. There is no escaping that and
there is no shirking of the responsibility we have to care for each other, and to see that
every decision we make weighs in the balance of all things and in all lives. Our first
need is to stop living as though we were put on this earth to live as an individual. While
we are an individual, we hold a place in the greater whole. And it is necessary for us to
function properly within our place for the good of all people. Ask God to help us to see
the greater whole, and to show us ways to serve others and to move away from serving self.