"Do Unto Others As You Want to Be Done to You"
Recently, I was in the greatest need I have ever had. I was downright devastated by my circumstances and incapable of doing all that lay before me. Although I should not share most details online, these circumstances happened right after my twins came out of the NICU, and I needed to unpack our house.
I needed help! I needed adult attention.
So I would go to many women at the church and let them know I was struggling. I would tell them I couldn't get my boxes unpacked. Their response, although it seems biblical, was incredibly hurtful and unhelpful. Their response was, "I will pray for you."
God calls us to pray for one another, so in some cases, this is essential. But if we can help a fellow neighbor and pray for them, is that phrase being used in a biblical sense?
"Do to others as you would have them do to you."— Luke 6:31
The Golden Rule
Everyone has heard the Golden Rule: "Do unto others, as you want to be done unto yourself?" It's an old theme but one of the greatest lessons we can ever learn. Despite this universal truth, we often recite the words right, but we use them in the wrong contexts. Most of us treat the verse as if it said, "Don't do unto others, as you don't want to be done to yourself." For instance, you may scold your child for teasing her brother, "Would you want him to pick on you like that?" "No." "Well, you should do unto others, as you want to be done unto yourself." Although that is excellent teaching, it's passive. To treat others the way we want to be treated, we must be active. If we see a hungry man in their shoes, would we want to be given a sandwich? Or someone you know seems withdrawn. Would we want someone to reach out to us if we felt that way? The truth is, if we're going to live as Jesus did, then we need to put that verse into action!
This is an Active Verse, So Let's Act
To put this verse into action, we need to step out of our comfort zone and help others. It's kind of like when a teller makes a mistake. Just because we don't scream at the teller who gives us 20 dollars instead of 200 dollars doesn't make us good people. How would we want to be treated when we make a mistake. Would we want to be treated with patience, understanding, love? Face it, we all have made mistakes in our jobs, and some of us have made huge mistakes. How would you like to be treated? In a way, it goes back to the saying from the nineties, "What would Jesus Do?"
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,"— Philippians 2:3
Be the Person You Want Others to Be
By becoming active, we need to look inside ourselves. What are some blessings you can give to others that you wish you had? Has God been providing these blessings? Do you try to bless others in this way? When you see someone struggling either emotionally or physically, do you help? If you were that person, would you want help? These are things we need to ask ourselves. Should we expect others to assist us financially if we have never helped others? Should we expect a friend to be there for us if we are not there for them?
We are a society of me-me-me! We often think of the injustices of our own lives yet ignore those around us who are often in greater need than ourselves. For instance, if you are reading this, you have the Internet or the ability to access it. How many people don't, because they can't afford a computer, transportation to the library, etc. We worry about how we will pay our bills, but what are they: necessities or wants. Many people go without basic necessities that we are capable of giving. We need to become proactive in our lives.
"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."— 2 Corinthians 9:6
Pay It Forward
It seems funny to me that one of the most excellent examples of this is a secular theme, yet Christians often will pride themselves on their giving ways. Too often, those who don't know Christ and His ways can exemplify this concept much better than many Christians. The bottom line is pride.
The Movie, Pay It Forward put the philosophy very well. We should be paying it forward because the moment we begin to pay it forward, we build up treasures in heaven. Recently an article in a magazine talked about this lady who spends every morning packing hundreds of homemade lunches. She takes these lunches around her town where the homeless live and hand-deliver them a sack lunch. Not only does she give them a meal, she often hugs them and listens to them. Wow, what a fantastic Christian example, yet I don't know if she is a believer or not. Still, this is what Christians should aspire to be servants of God's people. God's people are not just other Christians, but every single human He created!
There are hundreds of ways we can do stuff like that, but we are so involved in ourselves that we forget to store our treasures in heaven and bless others.
Practical Ways to Live This Out
- Pay for the person's meal in line behind us at a fast food place
- Donate your old clothes to a homeless shelter
- Buy shampoo, soap, etc. for homeless shelters and women's shelters
- Give canned goods for a can drive
- Give money to a charity you believe in
- Volunteer your time at a place you respect
- Send a friend who needs food or supplies a package from alice.com (grocery store online)
- Get involved in a church ministry.
- Get Involved in the Numerous Holiday Missions during Christmas time!
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing."— James 1:22-25
Look At the Man in the Mirror Before You Point Fingers
God says, "Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That's what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart" (Matthew 18:34-35). So many times, non-Christians are turned off by the Christian faith because of our hypocrisy. We preach forgiveness, love, nonjudgment, kindness, yet we don't live these out.
They see us gossip about how this person does this or that, yet we do the same or similar thing. We must act the part of who we want to portray. And to think about what we shouldn't do, but what we should do? Is there something you feel called to do? Someone who needs help, that if you were in the same situation, you too would want someone to help you?
So I pray, "Dear Lord, open our eyes to the needs that we are capable of fulfilling in others. Help us be judges of ourselves and not of others. Guide us, teach us, and thank you for loving and forgiving us. In Jesus' Name, Amen."
© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz