I could sit at the feet of Philippians 2 for a long time. Consider others more worthy, do everything without grumbling, complaining, or arguing.
If the church sat in Philippians 2, we would surely shine like the sun. our example would be so different then what we see in the world today. For the moment I want to focus on the seeing others more worthy part.
It’s hard to be deferential and servant oriented towards others. We tend to befriend those who are like us, those who share our preferences and attitudes. We naturally select out the other.
Yet, scriptures remind us to not only consider the other but to give the other a place of deference. Why is that?
Why give deference to another? Because to give difference is to refrain from judgment. Not only to refrain but to replace judgment with compassion and charity. To understand the actions of others (pastors, friends, bosses, teachers) with a certain nod towards humility and deference. In other words to refrain from sitting at the seat of scoffers, but instead to consider that the other has more pressures and challenges going on in their lives. It’s not to refrain from judgment by taking pride in being nonjudgmental, no not that by any means. It’s to identify in, to recognize our own sin and limit and to actively choose to keep others in high esteem. To ground our own advances in the reality that we often fail.
We often fail, we often sin. One thing I’ve noticed in myself is a stubborn refusal to admit my sins. I don’t know if you can relate, but it takes me time to admit my mistakes and to want to turn from them. Much easier to ignore my mistakes or blame others. The problem is that I will not properly repent or accept others as they are until I am willing to own my sins.
I was reading somewhere how the Orthodox make it an explicit teaching to refrain from judging others, especially those in authority. I think that would be healthier for Protestants and Catholics. Especially if your tradition has accountable leadership (Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, or Catholic) best to be differential and obedient rather than judgmental and unwilling to learn. We too often play favorites with our leaders showering our favored ones with applause and praise while we ignore those that don’t fit our particular temperament. Might be wiser to submit and hear so that we might grow in maturity in faith.
May we all grow in a holy deference to each other and those in authority,