As long as I’ve been a Christian, I’ve noted two spiritual pillars that are incredibly difficult to keep in mind. They are all-too easy to forget. One is to rejoice in our suffering. The other is to put ourselves in the shoes of another person whenever we’re dealing on the level of human relationships.
I will confess that I’ve had a hard time remembering these two things. And I’m in need of constant reminding of them.
And so is every other Christian.
So often, you and I are put in situations that involve other people, whether they be Christians or non-Christians. Our spiritual instincts always urge and prompt us to love . . . for God is love. But what does love look like on the ground? And how do we know if we’re really loving others?
I believe it will always look like this . . . “Treat others the way you would want to be treated if you were in their situation.”
In the words of our Lord: 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)
Consequently, if you don’t wish for your motives to be imputed with evil, then don’t impute others with evil motives. If you don’t wish to be judged, then don’t judge others. If you don’t wish to be gossiped about, then don’t gossip about others. If you don’t wish to be personally attacked, then don’t attack others personally. If you wish for others to give you the benefit of the doubt and think the best of you, then give others the benefit of the doubt and think the best of them. If you wish to be treated with kindness and understanding, then treat others with kindness and understanding. If you wish to be forgiven, then forgive others, etc.
I believe that in whatever situation we find ourselves in, if we would simply ask ourselves this question before God . . . “How would I wish to be treated if I were in this situation?” . . . His mind would become quite clear to us.
That simple question would cut down so much of our prayers where we “seek God,” asking, “Lord, how do I deal with such-and-such … what’s your mind on this situation which involves so-and-so?”
Now here’s a wild thought. What would happen if beginning today, every Christian on the planet would treat everyone else the way they would want to be treated? What would it do for the church, for the Kingdom of God, for the world, and for those non-Christians who are turned off by Christianity because of how Christians treat one another? (You know, like Ghandi who said: “I would become a Christian if it weren’t for the Christians”).
Consider that for a moment.
Undoubtedly, this won’t happen until Christ sets the world right. But each of us can begin to ask the Lord to make this real in our own lives now . . . today.
Living by Christ . . . living by Divine life . . . manifests itself in this way: Treating others the way we would want to be treated in every situation. For that is the conduct of Divine life. And the nature of Divine life is love.