Take for instance a conversation I had a couple of months ago with Rich. He had texted me to chat because he was having a difficult day (almost certainly something to do with that thing I was laughing at him about the other week). I'm sure I talked about his deal for a bit, but somehow the conversation turned around to me. My frustrations, my problems, my pet peeves. Me, me, me.
At some point I did have the presence of mind to realize that I was talking about me and made some lame apology about flipping the conversation to one that was totally Alise-centered. And my friend replied:
"You're more important to me than me."I admit, I've always been a little wary of the verse that I posted at the top. I've seen it used by people to keep people from being pushed outside of their comfort zone. I've seen it used to "prove" that in the ranking, we should be at the bottom of the list (If you've ever used the J.O.Y. acronym, I secretly hate you. Okay, not really, but man, that really annoys me big time.). I've just seen it used to beat people up for caring about themselves at all, but I've never really been able to pin-point why it might not be about that.
A few weeks ago Pastor Tim preached on that verse. One of the things that he said is that the "more important" refers more to position than value. And if that person is more important, we are probably more likely to treat them with respect and to give them more of our attention. It doesn't have anything to do with inherent value, but rather the way that we treat them.
And that brought Rich's comment to mind again. The comment didn't really have anything to do with me having greater value than him. It didn't mean that he doesn't care about himself or that his problems don't matter. All it meant was that it was okay for me to talk about me and that he was willing to listen.
I so need to do that more. Let other people talk. Give them my full attention. Treat them with greater respect. Look out for their interests. Show them through my actions that they are important.
What do you think about the Philippians passage? How can you show people that they are important? And if you've used the JOY acronym, how can you live with yourself (I kid, I kid!)?