Friday, February 15, 2019

Every Man For Himself

“It’s every man for himself!”

Many, many years later, I still can’t believe I yelled those words when the ice on the creek we were skating on began cracking under our feet and a bunch of us kids had to make a dash for the shore. I am ashamed just remembering that incident, and the incredulous and disappointed look on my dad’s face when he saw and heard my selfish reply to his directive, “Pam! Help your cousin!”

Thank God, everyone got off the ice with nothing more serious than a wet skate. But the memory of my selfish attitude and uncaring behavior still stings.

God’s Word tells us that If we see others in need, yet close our hearts against them, how can we claim that we love God? (1 John 3:17) As followers of Jesus, who gave His all, His very life, to save us, we are to live unselfishly. Verse after verse reminds us of this Christian trait:
  • 1 Corinthians 10:24 “People should be concerned about others and not just about themselves.”
  • Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
  • 1 Corinthians 13:5 “Love does not act improperly, is not selfish. . .”
Although I have come a long way since that winter day, I still struggle to be selfless. Unfortunately, it’s easy to be this way. From the time we are toddlers, we display a “Me first!” mentality. Still, there is nothing like seeing others’ self-centered behavior to remind me why I aspire to live my life differently. A few simple tips from Scripture can help us to be less selfish:
  • Listen. We can’t be thinking of our next words or that our own thoughts are better or more worthwhile. (“Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak.” James 1:19)
  • Empathize. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. (“Whatever you wish that others would do for you, do for them.” Matthew 7:12)
  • Be humble. None of us is more important than anyone else, nor are our wants or needs. (“In humility, count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3)
1 Peter 3:8 sums it up quite nicely: “To conclude, you must all have the same attitude and the same feelings; love one another, and be kind and humble with one another.”

After all, when we are skating on thin ice (whether literally or figuratively), we certainly don’t want to hear, “It’s every man for himself!”

Be encouraged!

©2019 Pamela D. Williams

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