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Respect for others is learned in the home

November 10, 2007|By KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN

As I reached into my kitchen drawer last weekend, I found yet another curly straw shoved in among the utensils along with a handful of cheap, regular, plastic straws.

These are a pet peeve of mine, as straws appear everywhere in my home — inside almost every cup my children use, on the bottom of my dishwasher, and shoved messily into drawers.

They are often the cause of spills in my house as kids reach for them and they tip a cup over. My reaction as I saw this straw stuffed in my drawer was to pick it up and throw it away, being the nuisance that is was to me. I realize this may sound ridiculous to some of my readers.


But if you are a parent, think of an irritant you have experienced in relation to your children and put this lesson into that context.

As I looked at that straw, I had an overwhelming urge to toss it — and all other straws — into the trash. I began to reach for the straw. Then I stopped myself, thinking these straws mean a lot to my kids. It would be self-centered for me to throw it out.

It is funny how God works sometimes. These straws forced me to look at another’s viewpoint. My thoughts immediately went to times people had given no regard to my own feelings — a daily devotional that was important to me that was thrown out because another regarded it as “old,” a purse that was unpacked from a suitcase because someone thought I would not need it on vacation.

Those moments hurt me and made me feel like my perspective did not matter. In my straw “epiphany,” I realized I do not want to treat others that way and placed the straw back in the drawer.

I then accepted God’s small tutorial to me and searched my memory for a Scripture that backed up this personal lesson. I immediately reflected upon Mark 12:31 “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Yes, we are to love others as ourselves, caring about their perspectives, desires, likes, dislikes and opinions. To not do so is egocentric. It is a natural expression of our love for God to love others and respect what is important to them. But our sin nature often causes us to think about our own desires. Sometimes we do not even take the time to recognize that an irritant is really us focusing on our own needs instead of the wishes of others. This is quite contrary to loving your neighbor as yourself.

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