One of the most convicting statements I’ve ever heard came from the lips of former President George W. Bush at the memorial service in Dallas for the five fallen police officers: “Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions.”
I don’t want to be like that.
While so many are fighting over whose lives matter, I’m reminded of Paul’s words in Philippians: “…in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (2:3b).
We are so quick to judge:
He’s so arrogant… She’s so proud… He’s an idiot… She’s just stupid…
These are people for whom Christ died. These are people He loves.
One more thing: He’s not finished with them yet.
Yet we still judge.
There are so many moments in my life I wish I could go back and change–the overreaction… the angry words… the whining… the many, many times I blew it! Oh, how I wish I could redo those moments!
But I can’t. I can’t change anything about my past. I just hope that people will not judge me based on those moments… because God is not finished with me yet!
Why can’t I do the same? Why can’t I esteem others better than myself?
The truth is, if I’m honest, I don’t “esteem” them better because I don’t think they’re better. But that is missing the point of the verse. It is not saying that we should honor and respect those who are deserving, and treat everyone else like dirt. We should esteem others better than ourselves. Treat them as though they are precious to God.
Because they are.
Warts and all.
And He’s not finished with them yet.
In Hinds’ Feet on High Places, Much-Afraid was struck by how the Shepherd viewed her not as she was, but as how He knew she could be: “Then she looked up into his face and for a little time could say no more, but at last she added, ‘My Lord, I cannot tell You how greatly I want to regard others in the same way.'”
Jesus tells us to love the unlovely, even our enemies (Matthew 5:44). He died for them too!
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:29-32).
Reference: Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois