We have all heard it from our parents, grandparents, teachers, and other authoritative figures. Those admonishing words of the ‘golden rule’: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Yet there are times when I wonder if somewhere along the line we heard, “Do unto others before they do unto you!”
Some cynically refer to the world we live in as a dog-eat-dog world; it is every man for himself. We do what we must in order to get ahead regardless of who gets hurt, bruised, broken, or whatever else in the process. Only the strong survive. Yet the Christian is called to a higher standard of living. Though we live in the world with shifting standards, on matters of morality, ethics, and principle we are expected to rise above the mediocrity of societal standards and demonstrate a life made different by our relationship with God (see Romans 12:2). We are expected to be mindful of the way we treat each other, always keeping in mind that we are representing not just ourselves, but the Lord Jesus as well.
Of course, that is easier said than done. Walking the walk is never easy. For some of us, it is an ongoing struggle in which some days are better than others. Nevertheless, it is something we are called to do. As followers of Jesus, it is a part of our mandate. Jesus taught, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honour and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, Amplified). That ‘light’ is the way we live our lives including the way we treat others. In his commentary on this verse, Bible scholar Albert Barnes writes, “Let your holy life, your pure conversation, and your faithful instructions, be everywhere seen and known. Always, in all societies, in all business, at home and abroad, in prosperity and adversity, let it be seen that you are real Christians.” He goes on further to add, “The proper motive to influence us is not simply that we may be seen (compare Matthew 6:1), but it should be that our heavenly Father may be glorified.” Jesus affirms, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35, KJV). Every believer is called to this responsibility and the power of Christ has made it possible for us to succeed (John 15:5)
How are you treating those around you? If they treated you the way you are treating them, would you see Jesus in their actions and attitudes?