Humanity – Just Think About It

Philippians 2:3 – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (NIV)

I find that often times those verses in the Bible that tell us how to treat one another are the very ones that are the least followed. And this verse may be the coup de gras. I mean, “consider others better than yourself?” Really!? That means we have to actually put ourselves below other people. And the concept seems great, especially when we are the other people. But stick most Christians in the hot seat of humility and they fold faster than Lindsay Lohan in rehab. I remember a group of boys I had the pleasure of counseling a couple of summers ago. And if anything stays true from week to week at camp, it is that 1) the kitchen has the inability to cut pieces of dessert into equal sizes, and 2) boys will scramble to take the biggest piece for themselves. So one week, when the Spartan-like war for the mega-piece was worse than normal, I decided that night’s devotions would be a detailed exegesis of this passage from a Jewish-historical hermeneutic. Ok, it wasn’t quite that theological, but we read the verse and honestly talked about it, which often times does more good than we give it credit for. And guess what!? It worked . . . kind of. The kids didn’t become little Jesuses the rest of the week, but during almost every meal time, at least one kid would offer a bigger piece of desert or the last piece of something to one of his bunkmates. It was magical.

So how does this apply to us? Because I’m not giving up my desert for anybody. Luckily, I think this verse speaks on a higher level (although I also believe that what my campers did was a great example). Especially in a college atmosphere, where the social aspect of life is so important and highly regarded, I believe this verse has wonderful implications. Let’s just take one hypothetical example. Say you walk into the Commons, the Grille, or 55th with a group of friends. And say that you happen to notice an individual sitting by themselves, looking particularly lonely. If the above verse is to be taken into account and applied to our lives, what does that look like? Does it mean sitting next to him or her? Inviting him or her to sit next to you? Or does it just mean not making fun of them with your friends? I’m not going to give you an answer, but I think it’s worth thinking about, even more than that paper you have coming up.

I’ve worded this so rhetorically on purpose. I’m not going to preach at you and give you answers – that’s what my dad does. I’m just trying to bring to light some things that I believe need to be thought about. So someday, when your 15-minute nap turns into a three hour one, and your mind wakes up at least semi-refreshed, think about what it means to put others ahead of yourself, in a social atmosphere or in any other way. And realize that your actions speak volumes, either positively or negatively. That guy or girl you didn’t invite simply because they aren’t part of your “group”, that friend you ignored in the hall because you were with “cooler” people, and everyone else are people that we are to put above us. How does that change how we think and act? I think that’s some food for thought of which we can all fight for the biggest piece.

Alex Updike, Columnist

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