“Happy is anyone who shows consideration to the lowly one.”—PSALM 41:1.
1. How do Jehovah’s worshippers show that they love one another?
JEHOVAH’S worshippers all over the world are part of a family. They are brothers and sisters who love one another. (1 John 4:16, 21) Sometimes they make big sacrifices for their brothers, but most of the time they show their love by the many little things they do for them. For example, they may say something nice to their brothers or treat them kindly. When we are considerate to others, we imitate our heavenly Father.—Ephesians 5:1.
2. How did Jesus imitate the love of his Father?
2 Jesus imitated his Father perfectly. He always treated others kindly. He said: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you.” (Matthew 11:28, 29) When we imitate Jesus and show “consideration to the lowly one,” we will make Jehovah happy, and we will be happy too. (Psalm 41:1) In this article, we will see how we can be considerate of our family members, our brothers and sisters, and those we meet in the ministry.
BE CONSIDERATE IN THE FAMILY
3. How can a husband be considerate of his wife? (See opening picture.)
3 Husbands need to set the example and show how much they care for their family. (Ephesians 5:25; 6:4) The Bible says that husbands must be considerate and understanding of their wives. (1 Peter 3:7; footnote) An understanding husband knows that although he is different from his wife in many ways, he is not better than she is. (Genesis 2:18) He is considerate of her feelings and treats her with dignity and honor. A wife in Canada says about 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.”
A husband remains loyal to his wife because he loves her and hates what is bad
4. How can a husband show that he is considerate of his wife’s feelings by the way he treats other women?
4 A husband who is considerate of his wife’s feelings never flirts with other women or shows an improper interest in them, whether in person, on social media, or on the Internet. (Job 31:1) He does not use social media to flirt, and he does not view improper websites. Yes, he remains loyal to his wife because he loves her and because he loves Jehovah and hates what is bad.—Read Psalm 19:14; 97:10.
5. How can a wife be considerate of her husband?
5 When a husband imitates the loving example of his head, Jesus Christ, it will be easier for his wife to have “deep respect” for him. (Ephesians 5:22-25, 33) And when she respects him, she will try to understand his feelings and treat him kindly when he is busy with congregation matters or when he has to deal with problems. A husband in Britain says: “On occasion, my wife will discern from a change in my demeanor that something is bothering me. 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 think of others and to be kind, and how will children benefit?
6 When parents treat each other in a considerate way, they set a good example for their children. They also need to teach their children to think of others and to be kind. For example, parents can teach their children not to run in the Kingdom Hall. Or when they are at a social gathering, they can tell their children to wait for older ones to get their food first. Of course, everyone in the congregation can support the parents. So we should commend a child when he does something thoughtful, for example, when he opens the door for us. This will make the child feel good and will help him learn that “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”—Acts 20:35.
BE CONSIDERATE IN THE CONGREGATION
7. How was Jesus considerate of a deaf man, and what can we learn from Jesus’ example?
7 One day, Jesus was in the area of the Decapolis when people “brought him a deaf man with a speech impediment.” (Mark 7:31-35) Jesus healed him, but not in front of others. Why not? Because the man was deaf, he probably felt uncomfortable in large crowds. Jesus understood his feelings, and he “took him aside” to a place where there were no people around and healed him there. Of course, we cannot perform miracles, but we should think about the needs and feelings of our brothers and be kind to them. The apostle Paul wrote: “Let us consider one another so as to incite to love and fine works.” (Hebrews 10:24) Jesus understood how the deaf man felt and treated him kindly. What a good example for us!
Love makes us do all we can to help our brothers and sisters who are older or have disabilities
8, 9. How can we show that we care about the elderly and those with disabilities? (Give examples.)
8 Be considerate of the elderly and those with disabilities. The most important characteristic of the Christian congregation is love, not efficiency. (John 13:34, 35) Love makes us do all we can to help our brothers and sisters who are older or have disabilities to get to the meetings and to preach. We help them even if it is not convenient for us or even if they cannot do very much. (Matthew 13:23) Michael, who is in a wheelchair, is very grateful for the help he gets from his family and the brothers in his congregation. He says: “Because of the help they all give me, I am able to attend most meetings and to share regularly in the ministry. I especially like public witnessing.”
9 In many Bethel homes, there are faithful brothers and sisters who are elderly or have disabilities. Caring overseers show love to them by arranging for them to preach by writing letters and using the telephone. Bill, who is 86 years old and writes to people in faraway areas, says: “We appreciate the privilege of being able to write letters.” Nancy, who is almost 90, comments: “I don’t view letter writing as just stuffing envelopes. This is field service. People need to know the truth!” Ethel, who was 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 preaching using the telephone 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 spent 1,228 hours in the ministry, wrote 6,265 letters, made over 2,000 phone calls, and placed 6,315 publications! We can be sure that their efforts made Jehovah very happy!—Proverbs 27:11.
10. How can we help our brothers to benefit as much as possible from the meetings?
10 Be considerate at Christian meetings. When we are considerate, we help our brothers to benefit as much as possible from the meetings. How? One way is to arrive on time so that we do not distract them. Sometimes, unexpected things may make us late. But if we are often late, we should think about how this affects our brothers and about what changes we can make to show that we care about them. Remember, too, that it is Jehovah and his Son who invite us to the meetings. (Matthew 18:20) We should certainly show our respect for them by being on time!
11. Why should brothers who have parts on a meeting follow the direction found at 1 Corinthians 14:40?
11 If we are considerate of our brothers, we will follow the Bible’s direction: “Let all things take place decently and by arrangement.” (1 Corinthians 14:40) Brothers who have parts on a meeting follow this direction when they finish on time. In this way, they are considerate not only of the next speaker but also of the entire congregation. Think of how others might be affected if the meeting finishes late. Some brothers need to drive a long way to return to their home. Others need to catch a bus or a train. And some have unbelieving mates who expect them home at a certain time.
12. Why do elders deserve our respect and love? (See the box “Be Considerate of Those Taking the Lead.”)
12 Elders work hard in the congregation and in the ministry, so they deserve our respect and love. (Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13.) Surely you are very thankful for all they do for you. You can show this by willingly obeying and supporting them, because “they are keeping watch over you as those who will render an account.”—Hebrews 13:7, 17.
BE CONSIDERATE IN THE MINISTRY
13. What can we learn from the way Jesus treated people?
13 In a prophecy about Jesus, Isaiah said: “No crushed reed will he break, and no smoldering wick will he extinguish.” (Isaiah 42:3) The love Jesus had for people made him have empathy. He understood the feelings of those who felt discouraged and weak like a “crushed reed” or a “smoldering wick,” so he treated them kindly and patiently. Even children wanted to be with Jesus. (Mark 10:14) Of course, we cannot understand or teach people the way Jesus did! But we can show we are considerate of those in our territory by how we speak to them, when we do so, and how long we stay.
The words we use and our tone of voice need to show people that we are kind and that we care
14. Why should we think about how we speak to people?
14 How should we speak to people? Millions of people today have been “skinned and thrown about” by the corrupt and cruel business, political, and religious leaders of this world. (Matthew 9:36) As a result, many do not trust anyone and have no hope. That is why the words we use and our tone of voice need to show them that we are kind and that we care for them! Many people want to listen to our message not only because we use the Bible well but also because we are genuinely interested in them and show respect for them.
15. What are some ways we can be considerate of the people in our territory?
15 There are many ways we can be considerate of the people in our territory. We need to ask questions in a kind and respectful way. One pioneer served in a territory where many people were shy, so he avoided questions that would make them feel embarrassed if they did not know the right answer. He would not ask, “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?” This method does not apply everywhere, because people and cultures are different. But we should always treat people in our territory in a kind and respectful way. To do this, we need to get to know them well.
16, 17. How can we show kindness when deciding (a) what time to visit people? (b) how long we will talk to them?
16 When should we visit people? When we go from door to door, people are not expecting us because they did not invite us. It is very important, then, that we visit them at a time when they may be more willing to talk. (Matthew 7:12) For example, do people in your territory like to sleep longer on weekends? Then perhaps you can start your ministry by doing street work, public witnessing, or return visits on people you know will be available to talk.
17 How long should we stay? Many people are very busy, so it may be good to keep our visits brief, especially in the beginning. It is better to finish our conversation quickly than to stay too long. (1 Corinthians 9:20-23) When people see that we understand that they are busy, they may be more willing to talk to us the next time we see them. If we display the qualities that come from God’s spirit, we will truly become “God’s fellow workers.” Jehovah may even use us to help someone learn the truth!—1 Corinthians 3:6, 7, 9.
18. When we are considerate of others, what blessings can we hope to receive?
18 So let us do all we can to be considerate of our family members, our brothers and sisters, and those we meet in the ministry. Then, we will have many blessings, both now and in the future. As Psalm 41:1, 2 says: “Happy is anyone who shows consideration to the lowly one; Jehovah will rescue him in the day of calamity. Jehovah will guard him and keep him alive. He will be pronounced happy in the earth.”