What “Do Not Think too Highly of Yourself” does NOT Mean
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3-8)
Satan and his reps are very adept at twisting God’s Word. This Scripture has been a favorite target for such abuse. Victims of evil have been taught, told, commanded, instructed… that God wants them to continue being abused. This twisted evil insanity goes something like this:
- You are selfish and you are conceited
- You need to humble yourself
- You need to focus on others, including your abuser, and consider them more important than yourself
- You need to be like Jesus and even die if necessary
Reporting abuse, desiring to be free of abuse, and exposing the wicked is not selfish! It is not arrogance! Confronting evil is NOT self-serving. If it were, then Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets would be guilty of selfish arrogance. They all confronted evil. The Christian, Paul is saying here, is to love his brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to consider their needs more than selfishly and pridefully demanding first place for ourselves. In other words, when it comes to abuse cases, this Scripture is calling upon Christ’s people to stop being cowards, to quit focusing on the consequences for themselves if they stand with the victim against the abuser, and to consider the protection and deliverance of the victim as first priority. All of this, of course, assumes that it is a godly and right goal to bring justice to bear upon the wicked and deliverance for the oppressed.
Abuse victims are not guilty of selfish arrogance when they call out for deliverance. If they are, then the fact is that the following Scripture is an example of that selfish arrogance:
Be not silent, O God of my praise! For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause. In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer. So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love. Appoint a wicked man against him; let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is tried, let him come forth guilty; let his prayer be counted as sin! May his days be few; may another take his office! (Psalm 109:1-8)
So look out for this trap. Don’t let anyone twist Philippians 2 and convince you that seeking deliverance from and justice against your oppressor is to be guilty of selfish arrogance. It is quite the opposite.