Much of the time we are too concerned about how others view us; what their opinion is of us, how we measure up/or do not measure up. We end up seeing the world through a rather narrow-minded focus that is fixated on ourselves. Yet, God calls us to something bigger and better.
How we see and describe the world says more about us than it does about the world. As we age and mature we hopefully expand our horizons. We go past ourselves and see the world from a broader vantage point—seeing the world more as an observer than focusing on ourselves as the center. Through this process we hope to move toward being more liberal and merciful in our thinking and in our relationships.
Growing up inculcated with thinking that one could never be too conservative, God has been breaking through that mindset with the Good News of Jesus. The old thinking is protective, self-centered and self-focused. It was governed by an old school piety that was concerned about rules, laws and a performance-based faith. The Good News of Jesus is lived through the lens of the Golden Rule—how we view others; how we treat others—“do unto others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).
Rather than focusing on our self-centered behavior and performance, biblical truth focuses on others and how we care for and treat all people in this world. We do not live in a vacuum. It is not all about us. It is how we live and relate to each other within the larger context of society and the world. The Apostle Paul teaches:
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”
There is freedom in the Good News of Jesus, in knowing that God has made us okay in Christ! And because of that we do not have to worry about how others perceive us. We are all okay because of Jesus, and because of that we have the freedom, motivation and strength to care past ourselves. To do as the Apostle Paul says, “to take an interest in—have a care for—others too.”
God give us joy and freedom as we live out our faith within the larger context of this great world that God has placed all of us in together.
Peace and joy to you!
Pastor Bruce Kolasch