CHURCH CORNER: Let’s look after interests of others

Do you ever wonder what it would be like if everyone was as thoughtful about the needs and well-being of others as they were about themselves?

  • Monday, September 21, 2009 4:45pm
  • Opinion

By Bruce Thweatt

Enumclaw Community Church

Do you ever wonder what it would be like if everyone was as thoughtful about the needs and well-being of others as they were about themselves? I do wonder about it from time to time, usually when I see the impact someone’s thoughtless (unintentional) selfishness has had on someone else. It isn’t hard to see on any given day. Someone in the checkout line with a full cart … but it’s the express lane and you are running late with your one item; or someone passing the whole line of cars on the shoulder because they are in a hurry but are sure you will stop and let them in (since they are moving over anyway, you sort of have to); or someone giving the store clerk or food server a hard time because they want something special.

It isn’t meant to be mean or harmful, at least sometimes it isn’t but sometimes don’t you wonder? But it causes problems and stirs up anger and resentment just the same and often it gets a reaction. I think it is easy to get so busy, to have so many things going on at once, that we just don’t realize how much effect we have on the people around us, especially the people we don’t know.

I’ve been thinking about a verse in Philippians that says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” It isn’t that there is anything inherently wrong with looking after your own interests, but when we only look after our own interests it becomes terribly easy to mistreat others. And to take this a little further, Paul writes this instruction to introduce the idea that we should learn to think the way that Jesus thought about others. Paul describes Jesus as setting his position and entitled privileges aside so he could come to earth and serve our interests. So if Jesus is the example of what it means to “look to the interests of others,” then we have a long way to go to follow this example.

Imagine if our problem-solving efforts at every level were recognizably governed by people’s obvious efforts to look out for each other – instead of just the interests of this group or that group. In fact what if “special interest groups” became a synonym for people who were trying to find the best solution for everyone and not another way to describe a way of corrupting governmental systems? What if the passion for or against any political or social or economic changes were driven by concern for how it impacts others and the desire to see everyone benefit?

Perhaps you think I am milking way too much from one verse? But what if that was the way we all thought and acted? Wouldn’t you find the world a better place if we all had the same attitude that was found in Jesus? And if we all fell short, but kept trying, wouldn’t it change the world? So I pray that I may learn to look after the interests of others and that we may all learn a better way to live together.

More in Opinion

U.S., Russia agree on Middle East situation

Since Russia helped Syria’s Bashar al-Assad stay in power and helped to defeat ISIS, are Russia and the U.S. at odds in the Middle East? Is Russia threatening American dominance in the region? The answer to both is no.

Page-turners: Best books of 2017

Continuing an end-of-year tradition that dates back more than 15 years, the King County Library System has chosen its Best Books of 2017.

Anthem protests about equality, not disrespect

For all who write negative comments about the football players who took a knee and posted that “this is not the America we grew up in,” let me share a few of the personal events from my life growing up in Tacoma Washington as a white woman.

Trump supporters’ attitude still the same

“Support Trump? Sure,” she said. “I like him.” These words by Pam Shilling from Trump Country western Pennsylvania reflect what many Trump supporters are thinking a year after the 2016 election victory, according to an article excerpted from “Politico.com” by “The Week” (Dec. 1, 2017).

Readers note: Change in comments section

The Courier-Herald has switched to a different online reader-comments platform.

Former fan finished with disrespectful NFL players

I lived off the grid for 15 years and the one thing I missed the most was watching pro football.

Carrying firearms about to change at the state Capitol

If you come to the state Capitol and want to see lawmakers in action, there are a few rules to follow while sitting in the galleries overlooking the Senate and the House floors.

America’s monster

I’m not sure when it happened, but I recently realized I’ve stopped asking myself, “What are we going to do about mass shootings and gun violence in this country?” Instead, I now ask, “When is the carnage going to come to Enumclaw?”

Avoiding loss means more than gaining something else

Some studies have shown that losses are twice as psychologically powerful as gains. American history and our current political situation help reveal a great deal about the American/human psyche.

Congratulations, Jan Molinaro

In every election, one person must win and the other will lose. Now more than ever, it is important to show our children how to be gracious in victory and humble in defeat.

Don’t give into the pressure of driving drowsy

Eleven years ago, a drowsy-driving car wreck left me with injuries that still challenge me today.

Opening our minds can be a beautiful thing

As a leader of my church’s Sunday Adult Forum, I had a goal: to put a human face on Islam for the members of the congregation and community.