By, Isam Itson III
Love does not insist on its own way, – 1 Corinthians 13:5
Being considerate acknowledges our awareness that for us to reach our maximum potential as individuals within societies, everyone has to have teh opportunity to thrive. As we have discussed before, a loving person is not fixated on their own self serving interests. A loving person finds their greatest joy in the success of the people around them. A loving person is considerate of the health, welfare, and fulfillment of others. A loving person cooperates with God as an agent of realization and transformative growth in the lives of the people around them. A loving and considerate person helps others discover and pursue a genuine and meaningful direction in life.
A considerate person looks a lot like a healthy parent. Healthy parents commit their time, energy, and resources to the health, development, and long term success of their children. They take care of themselves in order to better care for their children. A healthy parent does not always give their young child what they want, but they are committed to supplying what their child needs relationally and materially. A healthy parent is willing to endure the temporary anger and disappointment of their children in exchange for the long term benefit of their children. A healthy parent seeks wisdom rather than immediate satisfaction.
Healthy parents do not protect their children from every disappointment and danger. Healthy parents teach their children how to face disappointment and danger. When their children become adults healthy parents honor the God given free will of their adult children. They respect their children’s agency as adults. They respect the integrity of their children’s decisions as adult peers. In the process a healthy parent teaches their children how to live a mutually beneficial life by their example, even more than their words.
Being considerate of the needs of others places boundaries on our own actions. It keeps us from giving in to obsessive and compulsive habits in our personal lives and relationships. A consideration for others helps them feel safe around us because they know that we will not violate their integrity on any level. Taking the time to be considerate is as easy as asking our coworker if we can get them a bottle of water when we get up to get ourselves a bottle of water. It can also be as difficult as holding our peace when a friend or family member does not take our wise advice.
Consideration for the needs of others can also be discomforting. Allowing someone to meet our needs as graciously as we meet the needs of others is one of the most difficult parts of considering the needs of others for most Americans. When we add value to people’s lives we have to allow them to return the favor as God gives them opportunity. We need to allow them to do for us as we have done for them, in a manner that honors God’s unique grace to them. We have all been blessed to be a blessing. Sometimes God uses our temporary lack of wisdom, time, or resources, to allow someone else to experience the blessing of giving to meet the needs of others.
Consideration humbly honors the truth that we are all dependent upon God and interdependent in relationship to each other. Humility lies at the heart of honoring the integrity of the people around us as we considerately seek their best. Consideration and humility graciously allows others to meet our needs as God gives them opportunity. We are all designed to bring our God given best back to God for the fulfillment of his purpose in the lives of the people around us. Humility understands that we are blessed to be a blessing. Consideration for others encourages and empowers us to bless others to the degree that they are willing and able to receive our blessing.
Love does not demand that people follow our advice or accept our offer. Love humbly considers and accounts for the needs of others and accepts the rejection of others without giving in to feelings of personal offense or resentment. Consideration acknowledges that we do not have the only valuable contributions to make in our personal relationships. Consideration remembers that God has been gracious to everyone.
1. Apart from your children or family, who you are committing your time, energy and resources to help develop?
2. Are you able to consider others above your need to make your opinions known?
3. Is accepting help, gifts, compliments, and kindness from others something that comes easily to you? Why or why not?