Being Like Jesus

Luke 6:31-33 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

 This passage of Scripture describes how we must treat each other during the Millennium if we are to remain in a “right” relationship with the Lord.  Even though it is a millennium passage, it is still profitable for us today (2 Tim. 3:16).

There are some very good principles presented by the Lord Jesus Christ for us to use to navigate the pilgrims passage that we have before each of us.  Although the keeping of these words does not determine our salvation, as it will in the Millennium, it will help us conform to a more likable image of Christ.

Treat others the way you wish to be treated.

Why is there not more of this happening in the church?  Do people treat others the way the wish to be treated?  There seems to be a great disparity between the way we are treated and the way we treat others.  The two don’t always match.  Should they, there would be less conflict.

People are not sensitive enough to observe how others are treating them.  It is often overlooked because others are not looking for it.  Face it, it is quite embarrassing to tell someone, “Now this is the way I wish to be treated…”.  No one is likely to do that.  There are self-help, sharing groups that are full of people saying how they wanted to be treated, but others could just not see it.  It is expressed in statements like, “They knew I didn’t like that, but they did it anyway.”  The answer is: they didn’t know you did not like it because they simply never paid attention to what you liked or not.

On the whole, people have a predetermined idea of how they wish to be treated, but seldom think of how they should treat others.  Their focus is on “self” and not others.  Once they come to that predetermined conclusion of how they wish to be treated, they do not broadcast it because it would not seem a right thing to do.  Others are supposed to perceive it and if they don’t, then watch the sparks fly.

There is the story of Ted and Jane.  Jane made herself up real pretty for her birthday so when Ted came home from work, he would notice something different about her and be reminded of her birthday.  She didn’t feel right about saying to him, “Ted, you know it’s my birthday tomorrow.”  It just felt too selfish of an act to do something like that.  She opted for a more subtle way to help him remember.

Ted totally forgot about Jane’s birthday.  He was completely oblivious to the matter.  Coming home from work, he greeted her as always, with a kiss.  They talked about their day and proceeded with their evening as usual.  Not only had he completely forgot her birthday, he didn’t even notice that she had made herself up nice and pretty.  Jane was deeply hurt inside.  She had an expectation; he was supposed to notice and that would remind him of her special day, but that’s not what happened.  He was not sensitive enough to observe how she was treating him.  The result was pain and hurt.  Had he observed how she was treating him, he would have noticed something different.  The result would have been joy.

People don’t notice how others are treating them because they are more concerned with self; they are more concerned with the way others are treating “THEM.”  This is purely a focus on self.  We want others to notice us, but we don’t notice others.  The Lord Jesus said, “…as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”  That is not: “…as ye do unto men, they should do likewise unto you.”  You treat others the way you expect to be treated, but you make the first step, AND have no expectation that they will treat you likewise.  After some time, it will wear off on them and have an effect.  But, you must take the first step.  You must lead by example, treating them the way that you wish to be treated, all the while observing them so you can be sensitive to their expectations.  There is no room for: “This is the way I am—take it or leave it!”  This command by the Lord is not a goodie box of “what you get,” but rather “what you should give.”

Love those who do not love you.

This is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do as a child of God.  It is difficult because when you love someone, you are laying your heart out before them and there is a risk that they will trample on it.  Even though there is a risk, any attempt to master this precept will make you a much better person.

There is no doubt that the world is lacking in love.  People love themselves (but they don’t know it), their family, and their friends.  There is little room for anyone else.  We hold back from helping others because we fear an obligation might develop, or they might take advantage of me.  But we fall deeper and deeper into a selfish hole until we have no way for mankind to climb himself out.

To turn around this downward spiral we need to take the first step: love our enemies, remembering the weight of the enormous pressure our enemies can bring to bear.  We need to adopt, and develop, a loving life to all.  Yes, we may get bowled over by the world, but just as worldly living is infectious, so is love.  You must not love your enemies looking for immediate results, but for long term solutions.  This does not mean that there are no immediate results.  Adopting this teaching into your life will help you immensely in your attitude towards others and your outlook on life.  If you can do it long enough, it will become habit, and not only will it be easy, but it will make living for the Lord easier on the whole.

To love someone who loves you in return is easy, but to love your enemies is difficult.  It is here where lies the true lessons of love.  When you give out a good helping of your love and get some love in return, you have, in a sense, exchanged some love for some love.  This is similar to purchasing something: you exchange something that is valuable to you so in return you may obtain something that is valuable to you.  The Beatles sang, “Can’t buy me love.”  The reality of the fact is we do it all the time when we love those who love us in return.  We just don’t know we are doing it.

Do good to everyone

Too many people are doing bad things to others.  Even Christians get drawn into the oppressive style of living, repaying evil for evil (1 Thess. 5:15).  We like to “pay back” others who have wronged us.  In fact, we are so good at it, we do it before we even know what we are doing.  A wife says something mean to her husband.  The husband responds with saying something mean back to his wife.  We just react.  So spontaneous is this exchange that we don’t even realize it happened.  The proof is in the making up process when they say to each other, “I didn’t really mean what I said.”  The question remains: “Then why did you say it?”  The response is: they don’t know why, but they didn’t mean to do it.  It is because we are so conditioned to live by such worldly standards that doing otherwise seems impossible, but it is not.

We must take the first step to do good to others.  Although, the world as a whole may not appreciate such living, those whom we do good to will.  When they in turn do the same to others, it begins to spread.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a society where everyone loved each other?  This is what living in the kingdom will demand, and this is what heaven will be like as well.  You won’t have to worry about someone having some kind of ulterior motive when they do something good for you.

The Lord Jesus lived by this guiding principle.  Not only was it His nature to love (1 John 4:16), but it was to us—His great example.

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