I am part of a memorization group that are currently memorizing Philippians 2. If you could go to the biblememorization thread, you’ll find some dialogue between myself and another member of Connect. The question that we are discussing is what it means to count others better than ourselves. We have memorized the verses prior to it as well as we are learning verses 5-6 currently so we know the context. Please refer to it and look at, especially what I have said regarding it. As we expound on the Word of God, I feel very responsible in being careful not to mislead another. I have looked up the words in Greek and where they are used elsewhere and have come to the conclusions that I have. I would value your feedback and maybe when you do, if you could also direct your posts to @joyce_yung as well. Here is the verse that contains the phrase we are addressing:
Php 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves.
@Tim_Ramey Thank you for opening up this question to the broader Connect community. For a little more context, here is is the situation as described by @joyce_yung - "I serve in many volunteer leadership positions, one person in particular that he loves to volunteer himself out but keeping his promises is not very important to him. This behavior does cost me a lot of headaches. His logic is faulty most of the time and he likes to bully and personal attack you with everything he got. I have to admit, I either ignore him or call him out and end up in a heat discussion.
Help me out here team, what practical ways to value him above myself ? Actually, what does that really mean?"
Wow, what a great question - how do we as Christian leaders deal with difficult people? How do we put them before ourselves?
@joyce_yung I think the following article offers some good advice, in particular for your situation:
“If someone is purposefully disruptive, the right thing to do is to quickly move this person out of the ministry, even when that means having to be direct and have a difficult conversation. It is not productive for anyone to have someone on your team with behaviors that you are left to fight against.”
Putting others before yourself does not mean that you have to accept behavior that amounts to bullying or manipulation. Verify with other leaders that the person is causing an issue and if you are all in agreement then two of you approach the person and make it clear that there are expectations that have to be followed. God sets clear expectations for our behavior and if someone is volunteering with us they should be actively striving to reflect Christ in their actions - Church discipline is a real thing. There is nothing truly humble about allowing a person to continue in self-destructive and community breaking behaviors.
In my opinion, if we must remove a person temporarily then we pray for them - that God might humble their heart and teach them through their experience. We ‘put them before ourselves’ by truly praying and hoping that in the end they will grow in Christ and overcome their bad behaviors. That attitude should be reflected and expressed in our rebuke - even if we are telling them they have to quit volunteering - we should do so with love and a message of ultimate hope.
Another article that looks pretty good in terms of providing ideas to mull over:
@SeanO I think these are great points. We all love our volunteers and are grateful for them - but as the Bible tells us we are a body, a single unit, that needs to work together in harmony and unity to the best of our ability. When someone blatantly disrupts that harmony it can distract from God’s work that should be the focus.
Perhaps talking gently with them is a great way to start. It’s entirely possible that these individuals do not realize the problems they are causing, and all of the people in our churches are not at the same level of maturity in their walk. And of course we want to encourage volunteers, but at some point, if the actions are blatant or unable to be resolved, then I would agree with @SeanO and the article that they should be removed temporarily for the betterment of the other volunteers, and more importantly for God’s work to be done.
@joyce_yung I wish you the best of luck in your dealings. I’m sure it’s a very difficult place you are in and I pray for the right decision, action and words for you in working with this person.
@joyce_yung I certainly agree that @Tim_Ramey made a very helpful point What type of public services organization do you serve in?
I think that whether you are in a Christian or non-Christian context, it is still wise to set boundaries and not allow socially disruptive people to behave in an inappropriate way. Regarding Philippians 2, I believe Paul tells us what he means in verse 4 - “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others”. ‘Above’ means putting their interests before our own.
What are some ways you think you could put this person’s interests before your own? Do you see any conflict between serving this one person and serving the entire group under your leadership? How do you think viewing the person as they would be if they were Christian helps you decide how to lead them when they are behaving inappropriately?
@Tim_Ramey Please add in your thoughts here as well brother - since you got this ball rolling
I have received a lot of suggestions and new ways of looking into the matter. Thank you. Glad we are memorizing Philippians 2. It has a lot of blessings in it.
He is one of my board members at my HOA.
I need to give some thought on what is his interest. One time he asked me if I trusted him ( forgot exactly what he was promising at that time). It took some effort to say yes because somehow the look in his eyes told me that he knew I didn’t trust him. Immediately I felt guilty of lying but I didn’t go back and told him the truth because he was very relieved and happy that I say I do trust him.
Thank you everyone for your input. Let me think about it, digest it and most of all pray about it.
I do believe with all of my heart that the Holy Spirit will guide you. Scripture talks about not preparing what we are going to say but the Lord gives us the words when we need them. Joyce, you have a tender heart that wants to know the truth. I so appreciate your honest thoughts. You are an inspiration! The Word that you are memorizing will be instrumental in your guidance.
Sean, my question was born out of the one that asked what was meant by considering others better than ourselves. Joyce then responded to that with an example that was ripe with a difficult person. My question was who does countering others better than ourselves apply to and what does it mean that we see them as better? It’s not as if I know that my answer to Joyce is right but I still so think the way that I answered her.
I think Joyce’s emphasis on viewing others the way Jesus would is correct. If that is the case, Jesus didn’t let people get by with sin but dealt with it accordingly - no formulas on how to do it, just by guidance from above. I do think that Joyce has the right idea in looking at the person and praying for him that Jesus would make Him the new creation that he is his if he would come to Jesus.
What still is in question were my two-fold question; who does counting others better apply to and what does it mean to count others as better. I feel that I should have copied the post over to this thread as it is a hassle to have everyone flip over to biblememorization and then back to here. However, the posts there goes more in depth than in this thread.
@Tim_Ramey Amen! Yes, this is certainly a very humbling question - to acknowledge that we struggle even to understand how to serve others. It is truly a reminder of our reliance on the Spirit of God in all things. Thank you for raising this topic.
Yes Sean, it is good that you underscored our dependency to have to rely on the Holy Spirit. It is a moment by moment reality. I hope more can respond to the subject as it something that is commanded, so do we have it right?
I need to express here, not to be flattering,how gifted you are in dealing with apologetics. You have a real knack for it and I am in awe of your thorough responses, Thanks so much, Sean.
You know, @joyce_yung, I imagine Jesus not putting people into boxes the way that we do - Pharisee, Tax Collector, Sinner, Fisherman. As people, we tend to put people in a category. And once they are in that category - we make lots of assumptions about them. But Christ knows peoples’ hearts and knows their whole story from beginning to end. So I do not think of Jesus as putting all Pharisees in one box, but rather as knowing each one and always being willing to accept a humble heart. Jesus knew Nicodemus by name and called him to be ‘born again’ (John 3).
I’ve always enjoyed the story of Peter and John, fisherman, astounding the ruling authorities, who thought only educated men could speak with such authority. God has a way of breaking the boxes we put people in. These ‘unschooled, ordinary’ men had been given power from on high and instructed by the Savior.
Acts 4:13 - “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
If imagining what would be a wonderful born again person the bully would be is the way to apply Philippians 2:3 when I am dealing with the bully right now, this verse really doesn’t give me practical help in this life I am living in. It brings extra burden to my life. Why? Because one can only reason with an unreasonable person as much as they can reason with a two years old. Very difficult if not impossible. While I am trying to deal with the real life bully, I need to make believe in my head what would and could that person be when he become a child of God. I think it wont take long for me to gone crazy.
@joyce_yung Yes, that could be very frustrating. I think that is why we have set firm boundaries and not let bullies have their way, while at the same time hoping and praying that one day they might change their minds. Correcting bad behavior requires firm boundaries and clear consequences.
Once when I was working with a nonprofit, we had a volunteer leader who complained loudly and often - he would harass the staff and interrupt outings. My site director had to be very firm with him - she made it clear he either had to behave appropriately or leave. We prayed for him and his behavior did come around once firm boundaries were set. But if he had not changed his behavior he would have had to go because bullying is not something we should tolerate.
May God give you peace and wisdom in your situation.
When you gave your post on the Pharisees, I do think that Jesus did think of the born again Pharisees and was disappointed because their position trumped the truth. Paul, a Pharisees, did literally see the Light and he described his Phariseeism as rubbish compared to knowing Jesus. It’s like the rich man who was told to sell all of his possessions and follow Him, it says that Jesus loved him. He was heart-broken that the rich man chose his gold over what he could be if He only sought Jesus. Fishermen gave up their possessions, Matthew had it made but gave it up, Zaccheus gave up His wealth. I read that Nicodemus died in poverty because He was a follower of Jesus. Their possessions didn’t save them - Jesus did. They all humbled themselves and saw that they were wretches apart from Jesus. When I read your posts and Seans etc, I want to be more like you. NO FALSE HUMILITY INTENDED. It’s the truth.