As our world is getting smaller, our minds seem to be following suit. Our level of selfishness is increasing by the day. Suddenly, nobody wants you to invade his or her "space." Sharing may be the major subject in a primary-school class, but somewhere on the way to adulthood the lessons get erased.
How easy it is to forget that thinking first of the other person did not originate with Dale Carnegie. It comes straight from the Lord our God, who led Paul to write: "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3-4).
If you think most people follow that counsel, see what happens the next time you're driving into the mall and you slip into a parking spot, not realizing someone else was waiting to occupy it. We're talking borderline homicide.
This selfish attitude is also alive and well on aeroplanes. I remember one in particular: I was sitting on a 727 about halfway back in the coach section (three-plus-three configuration) when a family of three came aboard. Apparently, they had purchased their tickets late and were unable to secure reserved seating in the same row. The airline attendant assured them that there were several empty seats...surely someone would be willing to swap.
Just in front of me were two empty seats, middle and window...and on the other side, same row, the middle and aisle seats were open. The family—all of them friendly and courteous—asked the gentleman on the aisle if he would be willing to move from the right side aisle seat to the left side aisle seat. That's all...just stand up, take two steps to the left, then sit back down. Just swap seat 17D for seat 17C.
Do you think he'd do it? No way. He wasn't even courteous enough to answer verbally. Just stared straight ahead as he shook his head firmly.
Just remember this the next time someone cuts in front of you, the next time you are patiently (or impatiently?) waiting your turn in the line or at the light and someone charges ahead of you.
Make it an opportunity to practice Sharing 101. "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12).
Watch for an opportunity to share "your" space.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.