Bible Verse: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ (Luke 18: 11-12)

Scripture Reading: Luke 18: 9-14

I don’t remember what the movie was, but I know we were excited about it. Ten of us had bought our tickets and stood in line for half an hour to make sure we got the best seats when the theatre doors opened. After securing our seats, it was only minutes before the movie (or barrage of commercials that comes before the movie) would begin when an usher approached and asked us to move out of our seats. There was a party taking place and the usher had forgotten to mark the seats off. Looking around at the full theatre I quickly realized there was nowhere to sit other than the very first row at the side. Caught between moving to terrible seats or standing our ground and spoiling a child’s birthday celebration, we decided to give up our seats. Instead of sitting in the theatre we walked out, and I asked to speak to the manager.

At that point I had a decision to make. I could respond indignantly and be combative. We have all heard of celebrities or politicians loudly protesting to customer service, “Do you know who I am?” Or, I could have discussed the problem respectfully. I chose the latter; and as a result, we received a refund, got free tickets for the next show, and some snacks thrown in. It worked out well and no one went home telling stories of the jerk at the movie theatre.

Everyone likes to be treated with respect. No one likes to be treated with contempt.

Contempt is one of the risks to an altruistic marriage. When you put the other person first, you run the risk of beginning to think better of yourself and less of them. “Look at what a great husband I am for letting her pick this movie. She is really lucky to have me – most guys wouldn’t sit through this.” “Look at what a great wife I am for giving up what I wanted to do so he can go to the hockey game. When is the last time he did that for me?” Slowly, we are tempted to elevate ourselves and allow just the slightest amount of contempt for our partner to sneak in. Like the cancer of resentment, contempt can grow and spread if left unchecked especially if you feel you are doing the majority of the sacrifice. The last thing any of us wants is to take on the attitude that so often defined the Pharisees.

— Jeff Stearns, Content Director, Promise Keepers Canada


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