Doing Nice Things for Others and Being Considerate
Being considerate is a trait we want our son, Luke, to learn. This is because we think Luke will love others when he’s considerate, but also be personally happier as he gives to other people. It seems that when we try to aim at happiness directly, we so often miss it. But, if we try to make others happy, the greatest amount of benefit often comes to us instead.
The Definition of Being Considerate
Being considerate is just thinking about the other person’s perspective when we interact with them, and sometimes helping them, as their situation exhibits the need.
It also means tailoring our care of them to how that person is feeling. Practically, being considerate means making their life better like they would make it better for themselves – except you’re doing it for them.
How Being Considerate Helps You
The result of being considerate is that the other person knows you love them above yourself.
For example, I’ve recently noticed a change in one of my friends. All my life, my friend was very selfish, and if she gave you a present, it would be of very little value or you could tell that it was one of her discarded gifts.
Lately, however, my friend has started giving me gifts which cost her something and gifts that she had to put thought or effort into procuring.
More broadly, she’s been doing nice things for others on a much bigger scale than I’ve seen in her life before.
I now see a woman who is becoming less self-focused, and therefore, happier.
Why Do We Do Nice Things For Others?
On a selfish note, we do nice things for others because it makes us feel better, rather than if we thought about ourselves all the time.
The people who are the loneliest are the people who spend their entire wage on themselves and their wardrobes. They think about looking nicer than all those around them, instead of thinking about how they can make others look nice or benefit them. In my experience, they’re miserable.
In contrast, those who dedicate their lives to serve others find great contentment and purpose in life. They know they are appreciated and loved; this also gives them a reason to love others.
The Biggest Reason We Do Nice Things For Others
But, by far, the most significant reason we do nice things for others is because God has done a nice thing for us by sending His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins.
Like other generous souls, God didn’t have to do this. But He exhibited his love to us by letting His Son be sacrificed for us.
In this way, God made it possible for us to have a personal relationship with Him. Christians, myself included, have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This relationship drives me to good works which I wouldn’t normally do, but the Holy Spirit works in me.
This leads us back to our topic – being considerate and doing nice things for others.
If we are doing nice things for others, we are living a gospel-centered life. That is, we’re living a life that is motivated by the gospel, and Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross for His sheep.
How Can We Do Nice Things for Others?
A great way to be considerate of others is to see if you can find what they need most or would like.
Sometimes people who have lots of stuff don’t need more stuff – but they might be lonely. In this case, you can send them a text or call them to let them know you’re thinking of them. Bringing over a cupcake you’ve made or a little hamper might also be a way to tell them that you love them.
You can also setup a regular catch-up – once a week or a fortnight – to keep tabs on that person and be in their life, so you can speak truth into it regularly.
Other times people might have lots of stuff, but not anyone to help them with their stuff. For example, an elderly lady who needs help with lawn mowing or shopping.
Still other times, you might come across people who need help with tasks such as learning English. New refugees to your country would be a good example of this.
The ultimate way we can do nice things for others is to know them personally and observe their needs. In this way we can personalize our care for them, like Jesus personalizes His care for us by giving us what we need.
Conclusion: Doing nice things for others and Being Considerate
We do nice things for others because we’re motivated by the Holy Spirit to do these things. Furthermore, we personally benefit from being considerate because we’re less selfish and insecure, and more content and joyful when we’re helping others. While others certainly benefit from our care, I think the person giving the care is often the main person who benefits!
Rebbecca Devitt is the author of Why on Earth Homeschool: The Case for Christian Homeschooling. Rebbecca is a Christian wife and mother of one gorgeous, chubby baby boy. She loves Jesus and loves homeschooling. To read more of Rebbecca’s posts, head to How Do I Homeschool.