The Way to Treat Others

Phillip translates this passage in the following way: "Treat other people exactly as you would like to be treated by them -- this is the essence of all true religion."  Jesus has been giving principles for righteousness in our relationships.  Even the passage just considered (vs. 7:7-11) was given to help us in making judgments regarding people because He asked us to withhold judgments in one instance and to exercise judgment in another.  The opening word "therefore" looks back to what Christ had said in the previous section. This passage has often been called "The Golden Rule" since the middle 1700s. 


Our problem is that we are most often self-centered and self-absorbed.  We often think that our problems are bigger than what others.  We have been mistreated much more severely than others. Our needs are more pressing than others.  Jesus wants us to take our minds off of ourselves and to thoughtfully consider our treatment of other people.  Where our own advantage is concerned, there is not one of us who cannot go into detail, chapter and verse on the extent of our rights.  Everyone shows himself to be an exact scholar of justice when it suits them, but when it suits others that is another matter.  And so the Lord Jesus is saying, I know your instinct, is to look out for your own interests.  I am calling on you to be deliberately and consciously concerned for your neighbor's interest.  I am calling on you to reflect upon your responsibilities to them, and upon your treatment of them."


The standard Jesus wants us to use regarding our treatment of others is "neighbor love". A lawyer asked Jesus the question, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"   Jesus declared, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' This command to treat others as we wish to be treated involves three things as one writer pointed out:  1) we must reflect on how our neighbors ought to be treated turning us from self-centeredness to other-centeredness:  2) our neighbors have an interest in the privilege of the benefits of justice, just like we have an interest in justice being done to us:  3) He calls on us to deal with others according to their circumstances, in the same way we would wish to be treated.  This is God's rule or standard for "neighbor love."  John Stott says, "Such love is beyond us, apart from the grace of Christ."  In other words, we need the Lord to help us to love our neighbor.


"Daily Devotions by Guy Roberson"

Walnut Street Church of Christ



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