It’s an obvious point, right? But perhaps it’s surprising how often we forget it. Not everyone sins like you do. And yet I’m surprised how often my thinking is very one-dimensional, aka me-dimensional, when it comes to thinking about how people think, feel, act.
I met up with a friend recently and we were chatting over a particular situation facing us both. And it struck me that all the temptations I was being confronted with in that particular situation were almost entirely different to what they were facing. I was very aware of my heart’s desires whispering away, and so sought his counsel and prayer. Likewise he was was asking the same of me. Yet we were talking about a completely different fight. The same big enemy (as for any Christian, the world, the flesh and the devil), the same battlefield as it were (for it was the same situation), but the fight looked very different.
Personality, character; call it what you will, but the reality is we can be quite different. Some of us are more similar to others in certain ways, but we can also vary a lot – whether that’s nature or nurture. And that means we’ll face different pulls, different battles, different sins – even in what seems to be the very same situation.
I was just reflecting that it’s worth bearing this in mind as we seek to help each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s worth bearing in mind as we seek to apply God’s word to each other, and especially for those activity involved in preaching and teaching. Your radar might not be showing up the same things as mine. And that means if I’m seeking to love you and look out for you, I need to do a certain amount of ‘thinking outside the box’. That must begin with talking together; with actually sharing what we find hard, without making the assumption we’re all wired identically.