Philip. 2:3-4 says, “Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.”
There is a common occurrence in life that most adults are aware of. It’s an experience most have been guilty of. That experience happened when they passed through a season of their life – the teenage through young adulthood years. That was the period where their parents began to grow unintelligent and out of touch with reality while they become brilliantly wise about all aspects of life. Do you remember those years? Do you remember what you were like?
It was amazing how when I got married and then began to have children. Suddenly my parents had this transformation and began to become wonderfully smart and wise again. Yeah right! The truth is, I was embarrassed for those years of depreciating my parent’s wisdom while exalting my own. For me, the thing that most snapped me out of this delusional stage was having children. It was at that point that I began to grow in my understanding and appreciation for what love and responsibility was truly all about. It was at that time that my love and appreciation for all that my parents sacrificed for me and all they put up with concerning me began to skyrocket.
Do you think this is the only season of life this happens? It’s not. This misguided perception because of familiarity does repeat itself. Surely we wouldn’t want that to happen again but if we don’t, then we better learn how to guard against it.
Jesus begins to help us see how this could happen again through His words in Luke 4:24. “I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.” Jesus spoke two very key words that deserve your full attention. First He said, “I tell you the truth…” When Jesus says something is the truth, He is not saying it lightly. He is saying this is an absolute truth – you can take it to the bank – no ands, ifs, or buts. Secondly, He said the word “no” as in “no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.” The word no means just what you think no means. It means none – no exception.
He is saying that without exception, there is the experience of familiarity – knowing someone so well and for so long, that at some point the experience of depreciating respect and appreciation for who and what someone is begins. Jesus was speaking of Himself but also of an experience of life. Jesus grew up in his own hometown and community and those that grew up with him knew him well. He was a carpenter’s son. He was the son of Joseph and Mary. They’d known him all his life. They knew his strengths, and their perspective of his weaknesses. How could he suddenly proclaim himself to be the son of God? He became the prophet in his own home town and because they knew him so well, they couldn’t see him in this new light.
This can happen anywhere. We know children can become so familiar with their parents, that they lose the ability to appreciate their parent’s wisdom and experience for what they do know that is good and wise. Employees can become so familiar with their boss that they begin to depreciate the wisdom their boss has. They lose sight that their boss or company owner may have worked hard to get where they are and still have great wisdom to learn from.
Husbands and wives can become so familiar with each other and with each other’s faults and weaknesses that they become blinded to the good that attracted each other to begin with.
Friends can become so familiar with each other that they take each other for granted and see too much of the ‘less that great attributes,’ losing sight of their good attributes. We see this in Job 19:14. “My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.” And in Psalm 41:9 “Even my own familiar friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me.”
People can even become familiar with God – so much so, that he becomes just another figure in their life and not the one they reverence and respect for all He is!
Years ago I had these friends – a couple who both worked at the same company for a very long time. They had been there for many years and had become very familiar with the owner of the company. Over time, he had become someone who was at one time brilliant but now making a lot of stupid decisions. In their minds, they had become smarter than he him. They had exalted themselves and depreciated him. This led to their quitting to go live out their personal brilliance trying to replicate what he had built only in their own way. A year later, they had discovered they weren’t so smart. They didn’t have all the answers. They couldn’t duplicate what they thought they had learned and known. They began to humble themselves and an amazing thing happened. As they did, they began to appreciate their former boss once again. They began to remember and reminisce about see how smart he was. They eventually asked to meet with him and when they did, they told him the story of their own arrogance and how sorry they were. They asked if he’d hire them back. He did and their outlook was refreshed and renewed.
There are no perfect people out there. When you become familiar – when you start to know someone so well that you can see their faults and imperfections – you’ll either see more or you’ll work to look past them and focus on their strengths and wisdom and the good in them. You’ll guard that and not let familiarity steal it. Philip. 2:3-4 says, “Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.”
Whether it’s Almighty God Himself, your parents, your boss, your spouse, your friend or whoever – work to see the good and the value and strengths in them that you’ve benefited in the past from. Overlook their imperfections knowing you have your own and you’ll keep something precious and valuable in your life. This is a precious lesson to learn.
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.