A friend recently updated her facebook status with a story about her 7 year old being considerate by not throwing something away into a bagless trash without first asking for a new bag to line the trashcan with.
For some reason when I read this status, it struck me that being simply considerate is a virtue and habit that is slipping away...especially amongst young people. They are often too preoccupied and overly busy with their own selfish ambitions that they simply have no time or interest in considering someone other than themselves.
For example, my boys won't hesitate to trample over each other on the stairs when in pursuit of getting somewhere or something they want first. Sadly, I've even seen them trample over perfect strangers out in public while in pursuit of getting somewhere or something they want. They will close the door on each others faces, eat the last cookie without sharing, destroy the others lego creation because it's in the way of their train track, and will rudely wake each other up in the mornings when the other is clearly still sleeping.
These are ALL opportunities to show simple consideration, yet they simply do not.
To be considerate is to first consider God..."How should and can I demonstrate His love and character?"
And second, to be considerate is to consider others..."How can I help someone else? How can I meet another's need?"
It requires humility, there is little room for pride and selfish ambition where considerate behavior is concerned.
It requires sacrifice; mostly of one's time, energy, and resources.
The benefits of being considerate are numerous but the one that Scripture makes crystal clear is that being considerate goes hand-in-hand with promoting peace.
"Remind the people...to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men."
"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate..."
Stirring up trouble and digging up divisive trenches in relationships happens all around us, all the time. But there is one powerful solution: choosing words and actions that are simply consderate.
The idea that by simply being considerate of another promotes peace should be obvious.
Take driving for example:
If someone is a considerate driver...being patient, letting others in, following rules, etc...he/she promotes peace on the road. Considerate drivers receive plenty of friendly thank-you waves (with all five fingers waving).
However, inconsiderate drivers who are impatient, who don't hesitate to cut people off, and who forego rules whenever they so choose do NOT promote peace. Inconsiderate drivers receive plenty of one finger waves but they aren't friendly, if you know what I mean. Inconsiderate drivers often cause and have road rage, a sure-fire way to stir up gobs of trouble.
So today, I'd like to simply pray that our kids will be promoters of peace and of God's love by being simply considerate with their words and actions.
I pray my kids would learn the virtue of considering You and then others before themselves. Would you give them the wisdom to know when to stop and humble themselves with simple acts of consideration for others. May both their words and actions be full of consideration! And I pray they would say and do things that promote peace rather than division. Finally, may their acts of consideration set an example for others in regards to promoting peace.