Others Better than Yourself?

Philippians 2 3 i

Q. What does Php 2:3 “esteem others better than yourself” (NKJV) mean? Sometimes you just know you’re better than the other person, how then can you consider him better than yourself? Isn’t that false humility?

A. First, the word “esteem” translates the Greek word hegeomai, which means “to consider, deem, account, think”. This can also be seem in several other translations:

NIV: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
• ESV: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
• NASB: Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

You can see that “esteem” is a subjective value judgment, not an objective, absolute measurement. It is in your attitude.

Secondly, the reason why most people consider others inferior to themselves is selfish ambition or vain conceit. Because of our selfishness or self-centeredness, we think we are superior to others. The Lord Himself taught in:

Mt 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

We are blind to our own faults, but magnify even tiny flaws in others – that’s why we think we are better.

The reality is that no one is strong in all areas. You may excel in one subject, but perhaps just a beginner in another discipline. Each person has their own strengths and weaknesses. If I compare myself to you, I may win in some areas, but you will beat me in others. The key then is in humility look at other’s strengths and learn from them, instead of your own strengths and become proud. As well, we are mindful of our own weaknesses, not focusing on the weaknesses of others. In so doing we will regard others as more important than yourself. This is not false humility, but a realistic and humble assessment. Hope this helps.

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