“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” —Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
The simple act of thinking about the needs and desires of others is often the seed of charity, compassion and mercy. Compassion depends on our ability to put ourselves in someone else’s place and imagine what it would be like to be them.
We often use the word “thoughtful” without really thinking about what it means. To be thoughtful really means to use your imagination and to try to see things from the other person’s perspective. We often think we are being thoughtful when we are just doing for the other person what we would want done, but to be truly thoughtful you should try to do for the other person what he or she would want done.
People are not all the same. Some like things quiet and simple while others crave noise and excitement. Treating someone to dinner at your favorite restaurant is nice for you, but treating them to dinner at their favorite restaurant is nicer for them. Some like to be the center of attention while others shun the limelight.
In our ongoing quest to be more loving and compassionate to others, we should strive to imagine more fully what it is like to be the people with whom we share this world. God created each one of us a unique creature, and with seven billion different people on the planet, that gives us a lot to think about.