Browsing Tag


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer, Grace Yocum: Others Down/Self Up?

(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. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: “Baby Down!”

14305233_937682760579_6131246353948726920_oWhen my Hannah was about four years old, her younger cousin, Abel, was born. Amidst all of her grandmothers’ ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the new baby, Hannah shouted across the room to her grandmother “Pumpie!” (That’s what she called her.) “I’m over here!” 

This week, I’ve had a few vivid recollections of that sort of sibling or cousin jealousy as I’ve held my brand new Colleyanna. Ezra, her big brother, looked at me and repeated a phrase over and over as I was walking around with Colleyanna in my arms today. He kept saying “Baby down.” 

I said “Do you  mean you want me to put the baby down?” 

“Uh-huh,” Ezra said. (Like mother, like son).

Sibling jealousy was a thing…a real thing in the Corinthian church of the first century; so much so that Paul used a good portion of the book of First Corinthians to address it. The climax of the discussion is in chapter 13, where he describes love. As I think about that chapter, I see that several of the characteristics or anti-characteristics of love were a bit lacking in Ezra’s behavior today. For instance, love envies not. I’m pretty sure envy was at the root of “Baby down”. I think maybe Ezra was being pretty focused on himself and behaving a bit unseemly. But Ezra is a little child. (And this kind of attention seeking toward a grandmother is not unpleasant to this Mammy, by any means!)

It’s interesting that I Corinthians 13 concludes by pointing out that children talk like children. They think and understand like children. But when they grow up, they put away childish things. There will come a day very soon, if things are right in Ezra’s home, when he will no longer be jealous of his sister, but rather protective and encouraging. Maturity compels us to protect and encourage each other in the body of Christ—to seek the well-being of one another (I Cor. 10:24). That’s what Christians do when they grow up.

Practically speaking, this means you rejoice when someone else excels in some area of service even if it’s an area in which you also work. You are glad when another receives honor for the good things in her life. You are willing to step aside and let another person have the chance to do something that perhaps you have “always” done. You forbear with someone who does something in a a manner less preferable to you, albeit scriptural. You absolutely refuse to berate a brother or sister to his or her  face or behind his or her back, but you will go to all lengths to save his or her soul. In short, you get out of the way for the cause of Christ. You serve rather than seeking service (i.e “How come no one visited me in the hospital?”). Your path in Him is one of conviction and consecration, rather than convenience. It is always self-instructive, rather than self-indulgent. You are never eager to say “Hey, look! I’m over here!” When a new Christian’s needs take precedence, you never say “Baby down,” because it is your purpose to put childish things away.

And when you use the phrase “Oh, grow up!” you’re talking to yourself and you are wanting to do it the I Corinthians 13 way!