Good morning internet fam! My reading this morning was in Philippians 4. I love this verse (4:5):
Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do.
This is from The Living Bible, as opposed to the Dead Bible. Actually, if you haven't used this paraphrase, you should. Here Paul is telling it like it is. When there are problems in the church (or in your personal life), it's so easy to be the opposite of unselfish and considerate. See 4:2-3, where two ladies named Euodia and Syntyche were at loggerheads. The change is never a sudden thing. It begins gradually -- perhaps when one person wrongs another -- and then escalates until love is just a faded memory. This is especially true of married couples after the rosy glow has faded. If your love for your spouse is based on warm feelings, a mere change in mood will lead to disaster. Putting the other spouse first (see Phil. 2:3-4) enables you to complete the difficult race of marriage and enjoy the reward God promises to those who fulfill their vow -- "till death do us part."
There is a difference between unselfishness and insecurity. We don't ignore the problems that exist. It's just that we don't sweat the small stuff. Jesus never imparted cheap grace. But he wasn't pushy either. One of the great things about turning 69 is you know who you are. You're "comfortable in your own skin." (I just made that up. Like it?) If people don't like it, well that's the way it is. You know what you love, what you're good at (and lousy at), what your values are (and they may not be shared by others, even those closest to you), and what you want to do with your life. You are free to be you without the constant comparison that dogged you in your younger years. And you are happy to let other people be who they are.
Hendricksen translates this verse as "Let your bigheartedness be known to all men." Good advice for a man who is over 3/4ths done here on earth. Aging has tempered my fear and arrogance (though it hasn't eradicated either. Rats!). I am content to be me and content for you to be you. My prayer is that any Euodias and Syntyches out there will learn this lesson before it's too late.