by Bruce Hanson

There is a verse in Romans that has always grabbed my attention.

“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” Romans 15:2 (Various Romans 15:1-3)

* Bonus scripture. I Corinthians 13:5 CSB “love… is not self-seeking”.

The focus of that passage is on the other person, not on oneself. When we find ourselves in conflict with someone else, it is far too easy in the emotion of the moment to miss the opportunity it affords. A person without Jesus is an empty person waiting to be filled. Thank you, Kathleen Petersen, for reminding me of this story: Chuck Colson was a terrifying man. You didn’t want to be in the same room with him. Thank goodness Tom Phillips saw the possibilities. We should do the same.

Thirty years ago today, I visited Tom Phillips, president of the Raytheon Company, at his home outside of Boston. I’d represented Raytheon before going to the White House, and I was about to start that again.

But I visited for another reason as well. I knew Tom had become a Christian, and he seemed so different. I wanted to ask him what had happened.

That night he read to me from Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, particularly a chapter about the great sin that is pride. “A proud man is always walking through life looking down on other people and other things”, said Lewis. “As a result, he cannot see something above himself as immeasurably superior — God.”

Tom, that night, told me about encountering Christ in his own life. He didn’t realize it, but I was in the depths of deep despair over Watergate, watching the president I had helped for four years flounder in office. I’d also heard that I might become a target of the investigation as well. In short, my world was collapsing.

That night, as Tom was telling me about Jesus, I listened attentively, but didn’t let on my own need. When he offered to pray, I thanked him but said, no. I’d see him sometime after I read C. S. Lewis’s book. But when I got in the car that night, I couldn’t drive it out of the driveway. Ex-Marine captain, White House tough guy, I was crying too hard, calling out to God. I didn’t know what to say; I just knew I needed Jesus, and He came into my life.

So began a ministry that reached hundreds of thousands of people.

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