Esteem Others Better

In responding to sin and brokenness I must avoid unholy extremes: I must be repulsed by sin, hating any trace of it (Jud 1:23), yet I must not look down on anyone with disdain or contempt. The one error ignores God’s heart (Ps 97:10a); the other ignores my own. (Pr 20:9)

uglybirdContempt, finding others beneath me, unworthy of my company, is walking in pride; it’s thinking of myself more highly than I ought (Ro 12:3); it’s an abomination to God. (Pr 16:5)

Any goodness within me is God’s grace (1Co 15:10), not something to boast in. (1Co 1:29) God help me esteem others better than myself (Php 2:3), considering that if I were in their shoes I’d probably be doing worse: “but for the grace of God, there go I.”

There’s no room for contempt in a spirit-filled walk. Whatever sin, brokeness or deception I perceive in others, Father remind me how You’re delivering me from my own ignorance and depravity. Give me Your heart for justice (Mi 6:8), and Your compassion and sorrow for sinners (Php 3:18); warn them through me with holy tears (Ac 20:31), neither excusing nor minimizing their sin … nor my own. (1Ti 1:15)

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2 thoughts on “Esteem Others Better”

  1. I had a chance to practice this truth: my wife needed me to go to the store late one night so instead of arguing with her, thinking that I should esteem her better, I put her needs first, esteeming them above my own. As I thought about it, esteeming someone better is to LOVE them. If I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me Nothing, and to give up my body to be burned, generally would cost me my life, but it profits me nothing, without the Love of G-d.

  2. I would definitely agree that love and esteem are similar, and that we should not neglect either, yet don’t we miss something significant if we attempt to equate them?

    For example:
    • Can I love someone (seek their good) but still think of myself as better (inherently more righteous, holy, etc.) than they are? Certainly, I do this quite easily and naturally.
    • Can I esteem someone better than myself but not love them? Certainly, I experience envy in just this way.

    In “esteeming her needs as above my own” I think you were loving your wife (seeking her good), but this may still leave room for some resentment (“I will put her first, but she really shouldn’t be complaining and treating me this way; I don’t do this to her!”) This is getting at the “cheerful giver part.” The “esteeming” bit seems to deal more with our expectations and evaluations of others relative to ourselves in a way that “love” does not.

    I think both these qualities have their high place in the structure of virtue, but I also think they have their distinct places and should not be confused.

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