Our family has a hard and fast rule when we visit anywhere, whether it’s a restaurant, hotel, or are a guest somewhere. Our rule is to always leave a place better than you found it. This is a rule that we never break. As parents, it’s great to watch our kids pick up trash, tidy things up, and wipe things down. We taught them not to refuse to clean up other people’s messes. Even if the mess is not ours, we still clean up and leave the place better than we found it.
But a more important principle that we need to teach is to always leave a person better than what we found them. There may be some things in their life that is out of sorts. They may be struggling with something or are just having a terrible day. We may not be able to fix their problems, but are we leaving them in better shape than when we found them?
Romans 12:10 (ESV) says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” In other words, leave people in better shape than you found them. Doing this takes a tremendous amount of self-control. We have to be intentional about it. We have to stay positive. When we build others up, we are built up too.