Thinking of Others

In order for a commercial to be successful, it needs to communicate to the audience what the product is, why the audience should need or want it, and cause the audience to remember the product so that a purchase can be made. Companies usually accomplish these goals by either appealing to our humor or by tugging on our heartstrings.

Every once in a while a commercial will grab my attention, not because of the product being peddled, but rather because of the underlying message in the ad. These messages can be intentional or completely by accident. Either way, I do appreciate when the message is positive.  A while back I wrote about McDonald’s subtle, fresh, and positive perspective on The Importance of Dads. And now, the Golden Arches have delivered once again.

Just the other day I came across a commercial for a new product that McDonald’s was introducing. It began with a kindly elderly man ordering at a drive-through. He was alone in the car and yet he ordered two coffees. After a brief pause, he then ordered way-too-many orders of the new product being introduced.

When he pulled forward to collect his order the employee said something along the lines of, “wow you must really like these things!” And the man responded with, “oh, they’re not for me…they’re for them.” And just then he looked in his rearview mirror and the camera pans to a tired looking dad with a car full of energetic and loud pre-teen girls enthusiastically singing a song.

Perhaps the funniest part is when the song lyrics play “I’m losing my mind just a little.” We, the audience, are treated to a zoomed in shot of the dad wearily mouthing the words.

But that’s not what drew me to this particular ad. I remember this commercial because of the underlying message.

It is good to think about someone other than yourself.

The kind old man bought breakfast for a family he, more than likely, had never met before. And he supplied some much-needed coffee to a weary parent. And it made me think…

How often am I putting the needs of others before my own?

How often am I kind to others while expecting nothing in return?

Luke 6:31 records Jesus’ words, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” And Philippians 2:3 says that we ought to count others as more significant than ourselves. Colossians 3:12 urges believers to “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

Now you may be thinking, “ok slow down this is just a fast food commercial.” And yes, you’re right it is. But I also think that small and silly little things like commercials can cause us to stop and do some serious self-evaluation. Do we care about others enough to go out of our way for them or are we too self-absorbed to even notice?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 22 that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. And then He says, “and the second [greatest commandment] is like the first, that you love your neighbor as yourself.”

Now, am I saying that in order to love others you need to buy them McDonalds? No, not necessarily. But what I am saying is that there is a Biblical mandate for us to love others.

We are called to show kindness, to love and care for people, and to put others before ourselves.

I am grateful that a silly commercial can remind us of those truths.

I pray that we all would be kind and love like Jesus loves each and every day….even when we are not in a drive-through line.

Political Mess

Political Ads. Yuck.

I feel like I could end this blog post right now and I would have already said enough. You all understand exactly what I mean with those first three words, don’t you? The slew of political Ads that we have all been subjected to for the last few weeks on T.V., Social Media, print, etc. have just been plain…yucky.

It seems that the majority of Ads are vehemently bent on personally destroying the character, integrity, and very being of opposing candidates. I don’t need to go into depth here concerning the outrageous lengths that these ads go to in order to tear down opponents in every conceivable way. But frankly, it’s pretty appalling. And I have seen it come from both sides.

Thankfully, today is election day (and you should go vote your conscience, by the way) and that means that the ads will go silent, at least for a while. But even though the ads will go away for a time, that doesn’t mean that the underlying problem will.

Every single human being is made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26-27) Human beings, both males and females, have inherent value and dignity simply because they are beautifully crafted in the image of the one true God.

What is the problem then? It is that people fail to recognize this Image-Bearer status and fail to treat one another with dignity and respect.

All throughout the Bible, it is clear that God loves all of His creation. But His absolutely most prized creation is mankind. We see time and time again that God cares for people, usually even in the midst of their unbelief and open rebellion. All of God’s love, care, kindness, and grace for mankind, of course, reaches its climax at the cross where Jesus willingly died in the place of all of people.

The Bible also warns and encourages people to treat one another with respect and to humbly think of others before themselves. We are instructed to encourage one another, seek the good of others, and love one another. We are even instructed to love and pray for those who, not just disagree with us, but who are our enemies! (1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 10:24-25, Ephesians 4:29, Mark 12:30-31, Colossians 3:16, Proverbs 10:12, Leviticus 19:18, Luke 6:27-31, Romans 12:20…and so on…you get the picture.)

James chapter 3 talks about the power that our words have over others. Our words can build up and bless. Our words can also tear down and curse. As Image-Bearers we need to understand the huge responsibility that we have to control our words.
Now, you may be reading this and think, “Sure, I get what you are saying but that person/program/policy is just so stinkin’ bad!”

I hear you. We live in a fallen and broken world. Ever since the events of Genesis chapter 3 mankind has been under the curse of sin and death. The results of The Fall are devastatingly obvious. But the fact is people still bear the Image of God, even if it is a broken and scared version of the original.

We won’t win arguments by shouting louder. We won’t gain friends by being rude. And we certainly won’t win people over to Jesus by abusively insulting others. Speak the truth, but do so in love.

So, go ahead and vote today.

Just remember, the candidate that you did not vote for is, despite everything we have been told to believe, a living breathing person made in the image of God.