Treat People the Way God Treats You

Don’t treat people the way they treat you. Treat people the way God treats you. ~ Dave Willis

The other day I saw a meme shared by Focus on the Family in my Facebook news feed, with the above quote. I immediately shared it, thinking “Yes! Someone else gets it!”

The truth is, we live in a society in which we measure out things like, love, grace, and respect in the measure that it’s given to us; but the Word tells us to live otherwise.

In Matthew 7:12, Jesus Himself, says “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.” (We talked about this previously, in my R-E-S-P-E-C-T post, about a year ago.)

So, why are we revisiting this? Because we always need to be reminded, and like I said in a previous post (The Lamp of the Body), we’re called to be a peculiar people. We’re not supposed to think and act like those in the world. Is this difficult? Yes; but, again, we’re not doing it on our own, but by the power of the Spirit of God living within us. The verse we’ve been returning to again and again, in church this year, has been Zechariah 4:8: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord. This ties right in line with what we’ve been saying here for years.

Give Grace

So, what does it mean to treat others the way that God treats us? I believe it means that we’re showing people grace, as God shows us grace. The word grace itself, is described as free and unmerited favor, meaning it’s undeserved. God doesn’t provide grace for us because we deserve it, He provides it because of Who He is. In same, we shouldn’t offer grace towards others based on merit, but because of who we are in Christ; we forgive others because we’ve been forgiven (Matthew 6:14; Ephesians 4:32).

Discipline in Love

Secondly, it means that we discipline in love, the way God lovingly disciplines His children. Proverbs 3:11-12 and Hebrews 12 talk about discipline. I think we often equate discipline with corporal punishment, but as I believe we’ve briefly discussed before–in Correction–this is more like training and teaching than anything else. Basically, we’re talking about speaking Truth, gently and lovingly, into people’s lives and letting God do the rest of the work. Again…Our job is simply to share it, not to force people to believe (for more on this check out, For All to Hear).

Treat all Equally

Third, it means we treat all equally and with respect. Jesus died for all, not just a few of us and He gives us all equal opportunity to become children of God (Romans 2:11; Galatians 3:26-29; John 1:12; John 3:16-17; Acts 10:34). James asks in chapter 2, “how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?” This could be based on financial or social status, as it was in James’ time, but it could also include race or ethnicity. The Church of our Lord, Jesus Christ is global. There will be people of all races and tongues in heaven, whether we were rich or poor, married or unmarried, U.S.-born, Middle Eastern, African, raised in the church, or became a believer in our old age; none of it is going to matter when we’re all standing before God (Revelation 7:9).

Treat Others as Better than Ourselves

Lastly, it means we treat others as better than ourselves. In Philippians 2:3-8 (NLT), Paul writes:

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Jesus, Himself, showed us what it looked like to pour out His life for others. Remember when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet in John 13?  He told them to use it as an example, and to wash each other’s feet as He washed theirs. Elsewhere, we’re told that we are to serve one another in love, to love our neighbor as our self, and to give to those in need, period (Leviticus 19:33-34; Galatians 5:13; Mark 10:42-45; Mark 12:31; Romans 12:20; James 1:27). And to top it all off, we’re to expect nothing in return (Luke 14:12-14).

Will this be easy? No. Will this be possible? Absolutely. But only by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Are you up for the challenge? I know Paul was when he stated, “But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy” (Philippians 2:17).

Let’s act accordingly.

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Correction

Wow! It’s been a while since I wrote anything on here. I’ve been really busy working on my Masters, but now I’m on summer break until August 19. 😀

First off, I’d like to mention how interesting it is that my last post was about being unequally yoked, and my last journal entry–which I was reviewing earlier today–was about the same topic. In 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 Paul told the Corinthians not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. My study Bible says that Paul was most likely referring to the false teachers that were trying to lead the Church members astray; however, I believe Paul was referring to much more than that. Really this can be applied to all our relationships. Unbelieving friends, co-workers, or teachers can encourage us to act/live against what God’s Word asks/expects of us.  Now, it’s not that we aren’t supposed to have unbelievers as friends, but they shouldn’t make up our core group of friends or be those we seek for sound godly advice. Paul reminds us that we’re intended to be separate and holy, “perfecting holiness out of reverence for God;” in other words, we honor God by separating ourselves for His purpose and living according to His commands.

Paul then goes on to ask the question “And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols?” You may be confused by this question, but remember, we previously discussed that WE are God’s sanctuary. His Holy Spirit takes residence within us when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. Therefore, God ought to be our focus; our life’s purpose should be to glorify God in all that we do. Unbelievers, however, put themselves at the center of their universe–making themselves an idol–and putting themselves before God. Today one of my Facebook friends 😉 posted a quote by rapper Shai Linne, it stated “It’s called selfism, the fastest growing religion.” I thought this quote pretty much summed up this topic.

Now, for what I really wanted to discuss!! 😀 TODAY, I was reading 2 Corinthians 7:2-16 and I was reminded that man has remained the same since the beginning. Paul was, again, speaking to the church at Corinth. He always had to correct and rebuke the members of the church, which amuses me, because I realize the early Church had just as many problems as today–even some of the same problems! But one of the many reasons I love Paul is that because he loved the Church so much, he was honest and spoke the Truth to them, even when he knew it would hurt their feelings or cause them to be angry with him. He would rather have people be upset for a short while on Earth, rather than spend an eternity in hell, because he’d withheld the truth from them. Paul wanted them to repent and have a heart (and lifestyle) change; his intent was not to hurt them, but to help them.

How often we get angry with those who correct us! Man is still the same today. We hate being corrected. However, usually, those who are correcting us, do so out of love for us. Paul constantly reminded the Corinthians that he loved them and was proud of them. He was so proud of them that he was bragging about them to Titus (2 Corinthians 7:14)! Remember God’s Word says He disciplines/corrects those He loves (Revelations 3:19). However, we often confuse correction for criticism, but there’s a difference between the two. When you hear correction, think “improvement” because correction ought to build you up and make you a better individual, or in this case, a better Christian; but when you hear criticism, think “fault-finding” because this individual is simply trying to tear you down. Therefore, the next time someone corrects us we ought to be “quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19) and remember…”Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise” (Proverbs 19:20).