I remember when I saw the first Liberty Mutual Commercial where a person did a good deed and then another person saw it and then it prompted them to do a good deed and the cycle continued until it came back to the original person. I thought to myself, “We need more of that…wait a minute. I need more of that!” This concept is not original with an insurance company, being an American, or having a good “upbringing.” Those things can highlight the concept, but the real “lifestyle” of consideration comes from God’s Word. In fact, it’s part of a long list of characteristics that are seen in a person’s life when they have new life in Christ. It’s called “walking in the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23 by the Apostle Paul, and he taught the lesson in reference to living a life that makes an impact. Impact on who? On everyone you meet!
It’s kind of ironic how Paul was refuting those of the day called Judaizers who wanted to make our faith something that is generated by doing good deeds. He explained to the council there and to all of us that our good deeds don’t come out of who we are, but out of whose we are. He firmed up the point that our “faith” and the work of the Holy Spirit in our life through that faith frees us from duty, and adds a whole new element to living a Godly Life. Here’s the point: When we receive Christ we receive freedom, true freedom. In that freedom comes a surrender to God’s Spirit. The Spirit changes us from the inside out making us think and act differently. Not just act a little different. A Radical change.
I have heard people say, “I really can’t remember doing much bad before I accepted Christ, so my salvation wasn’t much different in effect.” Every time I hear a testimony like that it makes me cringe. When I accepted Christ, I saw my sinful condition and all it meant for me and I repented. I didn’t see things I had done right or wrong. I saw my condition!! So when I was freed from the penalty of sin through salvation a radical change took place in my life and I am still living out of that initial “change.” Good works don’t make me any less of a sinner. His grace through faith has taken that away for eternity. But…….since I now know Christ and there is a change, there are certain things that will be seen in my life. God calls it fruits of the Spirit.
In Galatians 5:22-23, some of the main fruits are listed and guess what? Consideration is one of them. It has a different word, but the same meaning. Paul calls it “kindness.” In fact, the dictionary meaning of Kindness is “the quality of being friendly, generous, or considerate.” This fruit is one that can change any argument into a friendly discussion. It can change a selfish attitude into a giving one, just by someone seeing it. If practiced by Christians alone it could change an entire nation and help us be more considerate and Christlike. Sadly, right now we as believers are more into “an eye for an eye” theology so kindness is thrown out the window. You can see it everywhere that people can comment with a computer keyboard. (Of course, you know the reason we are more bold on a keyboard is because we don’t have to look into another person’s eyes when we tear them apart.) Facebook is littered with innuendoes ( more famous in the south than sweet tea) and cuts that are not kind at all. Sporting events give us total license to cheer without fear. Too many levels of kindness have washed away and now its all become a “grey mess” in our faith and the end result is devastating.
So, what can be done? Well, I am a big offender here. Especially in the sports. Here’s a rule of thumb for me. If something comes across as unkind and not like Christ, it probably is. That little nudge in your conscience should not be ignored. And when you do see an opportunity to help someone, like in the Liberty Mutual Commercial, you probably need to do what the Spirit is compelling you to do. Help!! Also, weigh heavily how you think about yourself by what Paul says in Chapter 6 of Galatians, where he says in verse 3, “for if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” What it says to me is this, “David you aren’t really THAT good, but Christ is.” Use your freedom in Christ to be like Him.
I have found that the only way to change something is to change myself first. Hopefully today all who read this blog will realize that us being good isn’t going to change anything, but being Christlike will change everything. Let’s change into a Consideration Nation.
The Pilgrimage continues…..