(Grace is 12 years old. She speaks with clarity about a temptation faced by many young teens. In fact, maybe we should all examine ourselves to be sure we approach relationships with humility. Edited by Cindy Colley)
Have you ever met someone who thinks she is just very cool; perhaps a “popular girl”? Did you feel like you were less important and left out? If you have, then maybe you didn’t have feelings of love towards this person. You may have even reacted by putting her down with your words or actions, or even spread an ugly rumor about her so that she wouldn’t be liked by as many people. Maybe you thought this would make you feel more important. Maybe if that person wasn’t so cool and popular, you would have a better chance at being cool and popular. Maybe you were jealous of this person, and put her down to “lift yourself up” or feel better about yourself. Unfortunately many around have us fallen into this bad habit. Do not be tricked into thinking that this is okay, because it is not. Ecclesiastes 12:14 says, “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” This means that if you make bad decisions with your words and actions towards your neighbors, God will judge you by all of your actions, good or bad. Further, you and I should always think of the golden rule! When you think about treating someone badly, you should think again.
Strong Christians don’t put others down; they lift them up. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians five, verse eleven, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up….” When you encourage others you feel much better about yourself than when you are putting others down. Insecure people have to make excuses and put others down to feel confident; but confidence isn’t walking into a room with your nose in the air and thinking you are better than everyone else. It’s walking into a room and not having to compare yourself to anyone in the first place. It makes God happy when you help other people, and it makes the devil happy when you discourage people. So instead of putting people down for being cool or popular, maybe you should figure out what is wrong in your own life that makes you need to put them down. Exactly what is it about yourself that makes you insecure? Be an encourager! It is far more effective to be a person who encourages others than it is to spend your time criticizing, ridiculing, and finding flaws. Not only will you feel better about yourself for being a force for good, but you’ll be making a positive difference in people’s lives. Refuse to put people down. Refuse to do to others what you wouldn’t like done to you. Help people live their lives in a positive way by encouraging more of what you’d like to see in the world. Lift people up and raise their spirits. Make friends; not enemies. Be kind. Be encouraging. Be honest. Inspire others to live with integrity, and lead by example.
You can be confident without wanting to be better or thinking you are better than everyone else! Putting others down shines a very bright and unflattering light on your character, or lack of such. Philippians two, verse three, says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
If you have an humble character, then most likely you won’t have the temptation to put others down. C.S. Lewis once wisely said “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” Colossians 3:12 tells us to clothe ourselves with humility. We need to realize that we can still be happy and confident even if we don’t try to get a “one-up.”
We are always responsible for our actions, no matter how we feel. The next time you find yourself in a situation where you want to discourage someone, think of what God has told you to do with your words and actions, and remember that you need to encourage others and think of yourself less.