“Happy is anyone who shows consideration to the lowly one.”—PS. 41:1.
1. How is love evident among God’s people?
GOD’S people are a spiritual family—one marked by love. (1 John 4:16, 21) That love is usually reflected, not in rare heroic acts, but in countless smaller ways, such as by thoughtful words and kind deeds. When we treat others kindly and considerately, we “become imitators of God, as beloved children.”—Eph. 5:1.
2. How did Jesus show godlike love?
2 Jesus perfectly imitated his Father. “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down,” said Jesus, “and I will refresh you . . . , for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart.” (Matt. 11:28, 29) When we imitate Christ’s example by “[showing] consideration to the lowly one,” we receive our heavenly Father’s favor and find great happiness. (Ps. 41:1) Let us see how we can show consideration for others in the family, in the congregation, and in the field ministry.
BE CONSIDERATE IN THE FAMILY
3. For a husband, how should understanding and consideration go hand in hand? (See opening picture.)
3 Husbands should take the lead in being considerate of others in the family. (Eph. 5:25; 6:4) For example, they are exhorted to dwell with their wives “according to knowledge”—an expression that could also be rendered “showing them consideration; understanding them.” (1 Pet. 3:7; ftn.) Understanding and consideration go hand in hand. For instance, an understanding husband knows that his wife, as his complement, is different from him in many respects, but she is by no means inferior. (Gen. 2:18) He thus shows thoughtful regard for her feelings, treating her with dignity and honor. A wife in Canada said of her husband: “He never belittles my feelings or says, ‘You should not feel that way.’ He is also a good listener. When he helps me to adjust my viewpoint on a matter, he does so with kindness.”
4. In his dealings with other women, how should a husband show consideration for his wife?
4 A thoughtful husband also takes his wife’s feelings into account when he interacts with other women. Never does he flirt with them or show an improper interest in them; nor does he show such interest when using social media or the Internet. (Job 31:1) Yes, he remains loyal to his wife, not just because of his love for her but also because of his love for God and his hatred for what is bad.—Read Psalm 19:14; 97:10.
5. How can a wife show consideration for her husband?
5 When a husband looks to his head, Jesus Christ, as a role model, he helps his wife to cultivate “deep respect” for him. (Eph. 5:22-25, 33) Her respect, in turn, will move her to be considerate of her husband, perhaps when he has to devote extra time to theocratic responsibilities or when problems weigh on his mind. “On occasion, my wife will discern from a change in my demeanor that something is bothering me,” says a husband in Britain. “Then she will apply the principle found at Proverbs 20:5, even when this means waiting for the right time to ‘draw out’ my thoughts if it is a matter that I am free to discuss with her.”
6. How can all of us encourage children to be considerate of others, and how will children benefit?
6 When parents show consideration for each other, they set a fine example for their children. Parents, of course, have the primary responsibility to teach their children how to be considerate of others. For example, parents can teach them not to run around in the Kingdom Hall. At a social gathering, parents might tell their children to let older ones go ahead of them when lining up for food. Of course, all in the congregation can support the parents. For example, when a child performs a thoughtful deed for us—perhaps opening a door—we should commend the child. Doing so can have a good effect on the young one, impressing on his heart that “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”—Acts 20:35.
“CONSIDER ONE ANOTHER” IN THE CONGREGATION
7. How did Jesus show consideration for a deaf man, and what lessons can we learn from Jesus’ example?
7 One time when Jesus was in the Decapolis region, people “brought him a deaf man with a speech impediment.” (Mark 7:31-35) Instead of healing him in public, Jesus “took him aside” and healed him. Why? The man’s disabilities may have made him feel uncomfortable in a crowd. Perhaps sensing this, Jesus healed him in private. Of course, we cannot perform miraculous cures. But we can—and should—show thoughtful regard for the needs and feelings of our fellow worshippers. The apostle Paul wrote: “Let us consider one another so as to incite to love and fine works.” (Heb. 10:24) Jesus understood how the deaf man felt and treated him thoughtfully. What a fine example for us!
8, 9. In what ways can we show consideration for the elderly and the infirm? (Give examples.)
8 Show consideration for the elderly and the infirm. The Christian congregation is marked, not by mere efficiency, but by love. (John 13:34, 35) That love moves us to go out of our way to help older ones and those with disabilities to attend Christian meetings and to preach the good news. That is so even if what they can do is limited. (Matt. 13:23) Michael, who is confined to a wheelchair, deeply appreciates the help he gets from his family and from the brothers in his field service group. “Because of the help they all give me,” he says, “I am able to attend most meetings and to share regularly in the ministry. I especially like public witnessing.”
9 Many Bethel homes have elderly and infirm members. Caring overseers show these faithful servants consideration by arranging for them to share in letter writing and phone witnessing. “We appreciate the privilege of being able to write letters,” says Bill, who is 86 years old and writes to people in isolated areas. Nancy, who is nearly 90, comments: “I don’t view letter writing as just stuffing envelopes. This is field service. People need to know the truth!” Ethel, born in 1921, says: “Pain is a part of my life. Some days I have a hard time just getting dressed.” Even so, she enjoys telephone witnessing and has some good return visits. Barbara, who is 85 years old, explains: “Because of my poor health, I find regular field service very difficult. But phone witnessing enables me to speak to others. Thank you, Jehovah!” In less than a year, a group of precious older ones devoted 1,228 hours to the ministry, wrote 6,265 letters, made over 2,000 phone calls, and placed 6,315 publications! Surely, this effort brought joy to Jehovah’s heart!—Prov. 27:11.
10. How can we help our brothers to benefit fully from Christian meetings?
10 Show consideration at Christian meetings. We want our brothers to benefit fully from the meetings. Our being considerate can help them to do that. How? One way is to arrive on time so that we do not create needless distractions. Of course, unforeseen events may delay us on occasion. But if we are habitually late, we should give thought to how we can be more considerate. Keep in mind, too, that our hosts are Jehovah and his Son. (Matt. 18:20) They certainly merit our deep respect!
11. Why should those who have parts on a meeting apply the direction given at 1 Corinthians 14:40?
11 Consideration for our brothers also means heeding the instruction: “Let all things take place decently and by arrangement.” (1 Cor. 14:40) Brothers who have parts on a meeting obey that directive by staying within their allotted time. Their doing so reflects consideration not only for the next speaker but also for the congregation. Some brothers may have to travel a long way to their homes. Others may depend on public transportation. And some might have unbelieving mates who are impatiently awaiting their return.
12. Why are hardworking elders worthy of “extraordinary consideration in love”? (See the box “Show Consideration to Those Taking the Lead.”)
12 Spiritual shepherds who work hard in the congregation and take a zealous lead in the ministry are themselves worthy of special consideration. (Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13.) No doubt you appreciate the efforts the elders make in your behalf. By all means, then, show it by your willing cooperation and support. After all, “they are keeping watch over you as those who will render an account.”—Heb. 13:7, 17.
BE CONSIDERATE IN THE MINISTRY
13. What can we learn from the way Jesus treated people?
13 Concerning Jesus, Isaiah foretold: “No crushed reed will he break, and no smoldering wick will he extinguish.” (Isa. 42:3) Jesus’ love for people made him empathetic. He understood the feelings of those who were figuratively like a bruised reed or the wick of an oil lamp about to go out. As a result, he was considerate, kind, and patient. Even children were drawn to him. (Mark 10:14) Of course, we do not have Jesus’ insight and teaching ability! But we can —and should—be considerate of the people in our territory. That includes how we speak to them, when we do so, and for how long.
14. Why should we take special care in how we talk to people?
14 How should we speak to people? Today, countless millions have been “skinned and thrown about” by corrupt and heartless commercial, political, and religious leaders. (Matt. 9:36) As a result, many people are cynical and without hope. How important, then, that we be kind and compassionate in our choice of words and also in our tone of voice! Indeed, many are drawn to our message not only because of our Bible knowledge or sound reasoning but also because of our genuine interest in them and our thoughtful manner.
15. In what practical ways can we be considerate of the people to whom we witness?
15 There are many practical ways to show consideration for the people to whom we witness. Questions, for example, are a fine teaching aid. We should phrase our questions kindly and respectfully. A pioneer whose territory included many who were reserved and shy learned not to ask questions that might be embarrassing. These included questions that the person might be unable to answer or might answer incorrectly. For example, he avoided such questions as, ‘Do you know God’s name?’ or ‘Do you know what God’s Kingdom is?’ Instead, he would say something like, “I have learned from the Bible that God has a personal name. May I show you what that name is?” Of course, cultures and people vary, so we do not need rules. However, we should always be considerate and respectful, which includes getting to know the local people well.
16, 17. How may consideration for our neighbors influence (a) the time we call at their homes? (b) how long we spend talking to a person?
16 When should we call on our neighbors? When we go from door to door, we are uninvited guests. How important, then, that we call at a time when people might be more inclined to converse! (Matt. 7:12) For example, do people in your territory like to sleep longer on weekends? If so, you may be able to start your ministry by doing street work, public witnessing, or return visits on people you know will be up and about.
17 How long should we stay? Many people are very busy, so it may be appropriate to keep your visits brief, at least initially. It is better to finish a discussion sooner than to stay too long. (1 Cor. 9:20-23) When people see that we are aware of their circumstances or busy schedules, they may be more willing to have us call back. Clearly, the fruitage of God’s spirit should be reflected in our ministry. When it is, we truly become “God’s fellow workers”—even a means by which Jehovah may draw someone to the truth.—1 Cor. 3:6, 7, 9.
18. When we are considerate of others, what blessings may we hope to receive?
18 So let us make every effort to be considerate of others—in the family, in the congregation, and in the field ministry. When we do, we will receive many blessings both now and in the future. Says Psalm 41:1, 2: “Happy is anyone who shows consideration to the lowly one; Jehovah will rescue him in the day of calamity. . . . He will be pronounced happy in the earth.”