Saturday, July 3, 2010

Forgotten Words of Jesus by Frank Viola

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.


  1. This my dear brother Frank, is worth framing and placing it on the wall in the living room of our hearts.

  2. Thank you for reminding us of the essence of what we way we believe...your writings cut to the quick!

  3. Jesus said the 2 greatest commandments are to (first) love God with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength, and (second) to love others as we love ourselves. These two commandments cover ALL the law and the prophets. Our relationship with God first, and our relationship with others (our brethren and even our enemies!) How can I love others when I find it hard, (nigh impossible!) to love a wretched sinner such as I? ONLY with God's love for me, which hates the sin, but loves the sinner - He loves me anyway! If He can do that for me, then I MUST love others the same way - selflessly, and unconditionally - regardless of their mess. My mess was probably worse, but God forgave me it. The mind of Christ, which we are to have, looks at their need, and points to Him, for He IS the Way, He IS the Truth and He IS the Life! The simplicity of Christ is Him in us, and us in Him, glorifying Him alone in all that we think, do and say.

  4. No need to be reminded of these two statements of Christ.

    Would like to remind everyone about Ghandi's statement - you become a christian because you want to be like CHRIST, no OTHER reason BESIDE, CHRIST is the REASON WHY EVERYONE IS BREATHING ...

  5. Thanks frank. Enlightening and reminding. Shalom to you.

  6. For years as a manager I would always invite Holy Spirit into the business the first day I arrived to take over the operation. I instituted a policy of treating others the way I wanted to be treated. The results were always amazing for my managers and personell.

  7. It seems to me that what has often become forgotten by man is doing the first works, and
    returning to their first love.

    Who ever came to Christ without first loving righteousness?

    When I think about the first works of man, I think about one of the oldest books of the Bible, the book of Job. Job 29 reminds me of the first works, that which delivering judges do with the help of God.


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