200187871-002Watching one too many debates these past few months has left a bitter taste in my mouth and a dull thud within my cranium.  The main course is nothing more than grandstanding served with a gravy of dishonorable bickering and a side dish of tattle-tailing. I’m starving for substantive dialogue and hoping that the dessert tray will at least have some kind of humble pie. In years past, opponents from different parties could conduct a respectful and honorable debate. They referred to one another as the “loyal opposition”. Now, they will kill one another within their own party before they can even begin the struggle with the opposition.  This of course, is not relegated just to the political arena, it is a reflection of America in general. Truth is, we’re fed up with one another, even our own slices out of the same loaf of bread.

What did we expect, when we are constantly in pursuit of the well-being of “Me”?  Look at the feast of “Me”!  We “tweet” about who I’m with, what I think, how I look, how sad I am, how happy I am, how lonely I am, how mad I am, etc.  We post on Facebook the accomplishments of my day, my awards, pictures of myself, my family, my friends, my job, my pets, my hobbies, my children, my cooking…. boring!  We go out to eat and no one is engaging in conversation…except with their phone. Conversation with another human being? No! That would mean that someone would have to listen.  It’s a world economy driven by the commodity of “Me”.  Marketers, advertisers, media, government all would rather I care about myself and no other.  It’s not a new phenomenon, but one that unfortunately arises when a society cares little if nothing for God.  God warned us about it exhaustively throughout scripture.

Exhibited in Christian lives should be the command from Paul in the Philippian letter.  Phil. 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Imagine if all the candidates in this upcoming election displayed that tough, character. Well, the choice would be just as tough, but now, for a good reason.  Imagine if everyone displayed that character in their lives.  You would immediately solve health care issues, incarceration issues, bankruptcy, debt, child welfare, immigration, and race relations just to name a few.

One of our problems today is a lust for winning! No matter the cost. We are a highly competitive society. It begs this question: What’s more important winning or honor?  We expel much to “outdo” or “one-up” each other.  The Bible teaches otherwise.  Rom 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.  In the Far east, especially Japan and China, bowing to one another is not just a courtesy, it is a way of showing honor and respect.  In our country and most of the western world, a hand-shake is the equivalent.  However, I find it to be more of a courtesy and less of a show of honor or respect.  Matter of fact, we’re somewhat competitive in this as well.  How often have you shaken someone’s hand and they turn your hand down so their hand is on top? They win!  Or they barely grab your hand at all. It’s as if you’re holding a dead fish or a wet rag.  Talk about disrespect!

Of course the worst idea in our world today is to be a servant.  The fact is, we are all servants in some form or fashion.  We serve ourselves pretty good, how come we can’t do the same for others? We serve our house, our car, our education, our vacation, our children our pets but don’t dare refer to me as a servant or slave.  “We’ve not been a slave to any man”, said the Jews to Jesus in John 8. In truth they’d been slaves to the Egyptians, the Philistines, the Midianites, the Arameans(Syrians), the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks and were indeed slaves to the Romans as they uttered these words.  Jesus said it best;  Matt.20:26-28 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,  even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 

No matter what the candidates and the world decide to do, let us begin by choosing to serve and honor our fellow man.

Darryl Fuller