In my life, I have been hurt the most by careless actions: thoughtless deficiencies of friends; being left out, not intentionally, but carelessly. Overhearing a comment given without attention to who was listening. Listening to praises sung incorrectly to another that I deserved, simply due to careless inattention and unconcern to find out the truth. Abandoned and overwhelmed with responsibility because others were not thinking when they left to have more fun elsewhere. These actions hurt so badly because they reveal these people could care less about me. So much so, my existence didn’t figure into their equation of life. They didn’t even give me a thought. Ouch.
Being careful is hard work. It involves gathering information, setting down a plan and communication. In the Old Testament, the Lord repeats the command, “Be careful to follow all the decrees of the Lord.” To please the Lord, the Israelites had to give thought to HOW they were to follow the decrees. It didn’t just happen. It required sustained thought and effort. Carefullness.
In Romans 12, we are told ,”Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.” Obviously, it is a complicated affair to try and please everyone. It is much easier to think about what is best for me and my family, and let everyone else take “care” of themselves. But to do so is sin.
Our duty and pleasure as Christians is to be full of care for the physical and emotional well-being of those around us as much as it is within our power to be. Carefulness is encouraging. Carefulness makes it easier for others to act right and not stumble into bitterness or despair. Carefulness strengthens a friendship. The Romans 12 directive is aimed at our enemies. How much easier is it to be careful to our friends?
Friends, will you take care with me?