So I was riding on the train this Wednesday when I saw this. Notice anything wrong here? There were a lot of people standing who had no seat, including an older woman not shown in the picture. The seat in front of me, as you can see, was occupied by two plastic bags. A few people who got on the train would actually look right at the seat, then at the guy next to them, and back at the seat. But the guy sitting there looked the other way every time.
There was an old woman sitting next to me who didn't like what she saw. So she actually tapped this guy on the shoulder and tried talking to him. She told him that there were people who needed a seat and asked him to please move his bags. She was actually very polite. His response? "If they need a seat, they should tell me." He put his head-phones back on and didn't move the bags! A gentlemen who had an aisle seat gave up his seat for the older lady then gave this guy a dirty look and still he did not move his bag.
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." -- Luke 6:41-42
Jesus warns us not to be hypocrites when we see other people's sins. He doesn't say we can't talk about the sins of others. He doesn't tell us not to confront a friend who is sinning. He just tells us to get the order right. First, we need to examine ourselves, confess our own sins, and repent. Then we can go help someone else with a similar problem.
So I was upset because this guy on the train was being rude and inconsiderate. Titus 3:2 actually commands us to be considerate to others. So the question I must ask myself now is how am I inconsiderate? Well, for starters, I didn't give up my seat for that older woman, I just sat there and looked down on this other guy. Or how about the times I get up and grab a snack or drink for myself and don't even bother to ask my wife or others if they wanted anything. Recently, I went to visit family and Christy had to nurse the baby. I sent her upstairs to do that while I spent time with my family. It wasn't until we got home that I realized I should have gone up those stairs and helped Christy and the baby get situated before relaxing with my family. The list goes on and on. Seeing the speck in this guy's eye has led me to notice the plank in my own!
There are a lot of reasons to be good and considerate to those around you. One reason we may not remember very often is that it actually preaches the gospel and leads people to God.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. -- Matthew 5:16
Especially when we are around non-Christians, our good deeds and the way we treat others, even strangers, is a living sermon about the God we follow. Being considerate is actually a way to draw people in to give glory to God and hear the gospel. When we treat others like dirt and then tell them about God, either we seem like hypocrites or God seems like a joke. But when we treat others well, we leave people with only good things to say about Christians and our God.
This week I got a good reminder of two things and I hope this serves you as well.
First, when people around you sin and it bothers you, take that opportunity to examine your own life for that sin before you do anything else.
Second, be considerate to others out of love for them and love for God and remember that the way you treat others impacts how they view the God and faith you profess.
- What have other people done lately that has really ticked you off?
- Are there any ways that you are guilty of similar things?
- How can you repent and change yourself?
- Are you considerate of others? Do your actions represent God well in the way you treat people?
- How can you be more considerate this weekend and next week? (I'm going to put this picture on my phone so every time I look at it to see the time or anything, I remember to ask myself "Am I being considerate of those around me?")