“Do unto others as they have done to you?”
There are many times in life, relationships and circumstances we secretly wish Jesus had actually said it that way and more often than we like to admit, we react as if He did (Matthew 7:12).
Here’s what I know:
People can disappoint
People can hurt
People can reject
People can ignore
People can ridicule
People can neglect
People can be selfish
People can be disloyal
People can be harsh
People can be intolerant
People can be heartless
People can be cruel
People can be…just fallen, broken, messed-up people.
So how do we respond when others become these ‘People Can’ folks?
What is our reaction when people don’t rise to the level of our expectations?
The human tendency is to recoil, withdraw, take out a mental permanent marker and cross them off our internal, ‘people-I-just-might-continue-to-like’ list.
I’ve said it and many times heard others say it, “They did/said ________. That’s it! I’m done with them!”
We wash our angry, offended hands of them and walk away; maybe not literally, but emotionally. We build walls, barriers and keep them distant; at the extreme fringe of our consciousness.
They are cast to the outside of our tiny circle and are greeted, if it all, with a stiff jaw, hard heart and an icy attitude.
Obviously, I’m not referring to abusive, immoral or illegal relationships. There may be people we need out of our life to vastly improve its’ outcome. Go ahead and pray for these as you walk away. But in the everyday interactions between co-workers, friends, family, spouse, fellow believers and the cashier in the checkout line, we can be so easily offended, so quick to write others off.
The truth is God did not write us off. He should have. We certainly deserve it.
He did this instead:
“For God so loved the world He gave…” John 3:16
“While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“Father forgive them they don’t know what they’re doing.” Luke 23:34
And if God, my Creator, did this for us, we can do no less for others.
Jesus, our pattern and example of God walking and living on the earth said:
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you…” Matthew 5:44
In other words, “Do what I do. Treat others, not as they deserve, but in the same way I have treated you.”
He’s never turned his back on us, but gave it to the lash of scorners.
He’s never walked away from us, but stumbled up a dusty hill, carrying the same tree that took His life.
He’s never washed his hands of us, but allowed them to be pierced with nails of redemption.
He’s never crossed us off his list, but hung on a cross to prove He will never stop reaching for us.
This isn’t a fuzzy, mushy, lollipops and sunshine sorta’ love. It’s a, “This is hard and I don’t feel like it, but it’s the right thing to do,” kind of love (Luke 22:42).
It’s a love that puts relationship over being right. And a love, not for romantic, starry-eyed whimps, but for spirit led soldiers who will take up their cross and follow Him.
“So in EVERYTHING, do to others what you WOULD HAVE them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” Matthew 7:12.
The addition of a few extra words changes everything.
My prayer today, is they will also change me and you.