How Do You Want to Be Treated?

Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

He didn’t say: do to others what they did to you.

We are supposed to be the light, a reflection of Christ.

Be different. Be the light in a dark world.

Matthew 7:12
New Living Translation
The Golden Rule

12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

When The Bubble Bursts

Disillusionment is a good thing if it makes you susceptible to the truth.

Think about that for a minute.

dis-ILLUSION-ment

No longer under the illusion of whatever is distracting you from truth.

I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt us or cause us to be off-kilter for awhile when what we thought was true turns out to be a lie.

It does.

The difficult part is accepting that what we believe isn’t true…or truth.

Some people never accept truth or facts. It’s too hard for them to change…

…or admit they were in error…

…or that they believe a lie. Then pride gets in the way and they stay…deceived.

We all get to choose.

The Apostle Paul faced that same choice. He believed he was doing God’s work by imprisoning and killing the followers of Christ. After all, he knew God. He was a Jewish man. And not just any Jewish man, he was a Pharisee , educated in The Law and a strict adherent to the same Law.

That was until those same Christ followers prayed for him and God intervened in Saul’s (Paul) life:

“As he (Saul/Paul) was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.

“And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:3-6

Saul, later renamed Paul, was faced with a choice: continue to hold on to his pride, position and tradition or accept that what he believed might not be true.

Thankfully for us, and for himself, he made the right choice. He made the decision to embrace the truth of Jesus, who is Truth, lay aside his own worldview and become a disciple of Christ. And the rest is history.

As you read the scriptures for yourself, and you come across something that is directly the opposite of what you believe, be willing to let go and grow in the truth of God’s word. And don’t be afraid to ask Him questions or voice your doubts or concerns. The Holy Spirit is a wonderful and creative teacher. He knows what will help you understand and believe.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” ~ John 8:31-32

Mercy Flows

As difficult as it is to love people today, God is ALWAYS in the mercy business…whether you think the person deserves it or not:

But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. ~ Matthew 9:13

Are you just a hearer?

Do you go to church or listen to sermons?

Are you part of a study group at your church, or do you sign up for biblical reading plans online?

Are you disciplined in reading the bible or do you engage in a daily devotional?

Do you still find it difficult to hear from God? Are things in your world still unstable?

Then consider that you may be someone who hears God’s word but doesn’t put it into practice.

“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

Going to church and reading your Bible are good things. To activate God’s promises though, you need to do thing’s God’s way. You won’t experience the priceless gift of God’s peace if you don’t first do as He instructs us, through Paul:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ.” Philppians 4:6-7

We hear the humorous “Not today, Satan, not today”, which is partially based on scripture. But partially based isn’t the whole truth. You can’t tell the devil to be gone unless you are first lined up with God:

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Submitting to God is first and foremost acknowledging Him as Lord. But beyond that, it goes back to doing things God’s way.

Read the word, learn about God, invite the Holy Spirit to teach you and give you understanding. Then, when you know what you need to do…DO IT! James shares an awesome promise to those who follow this instruction:

“But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom, and continues to do so—not being a forgetful hearer, but an effective doer—he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25

Peacemakers Needed

God spoke through the prophet Hosea, revealing that His people “…are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6

Ignorance is not bliss in God’s kingdom. Not knowing God and not knowing His way of doing things is, by default, opening the door to a world of hurt & suffering.

Right now in the U.S., we are witnessing some of the most turbulent & rancorous times in our country’s history. You don’t have to look very far to find angry, vocal & enraged people expressing themselves in angry & violent ways. This leads people with opposing ideologies to rise up with an equal amount of anger & rage in response. Or – in reaction to is the better phrase. “In response” implies thoughtful consideration. That’s not what we are witnessing.

Somethings gotta give.

Or more correctly, someone’s gotta give…an inch (or more)…toward reconciliation and peace.

Here is one of those deep scriptures, that if you breeze right over it, you miss what God is revealing:

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” James 3:16

Slow down. Now re-read the verse: where envying and strife is

What happens when envying (jealousy, desire for something that someone else has) & strife (vigorous or bitter conflict, discord, or antagonism) are present?

There will be confusion and every evil work. The New American Standard Bible says it this way, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.”

You can see this playing out in social media, in politics, in race relations. The anger & constant strife has lead to increasing rage, destruction and violence. Civility has seemingly left the building!

As Christians, we are not to emulate the behavior of people who do no know God. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that they were, “… still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?

You can’t be a light to the world if you are still acting like you live in the dark.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9

We can be at peace because Jesus gives us His peace. Peace is a by-product of trust. We have the privilege of going to God and PRAYING ABOUT EVERYTHING (Philippians 4:6)

We can shut the door on confusion & other evil, destructive influences in our life by staying out of strife and resisting envy, jealousy & selfish ambition.

It is a choice. Everyday. Sometimes multiple times per day. Choose to be at peace. Ask God to lead you away from the temptation to react and be argumentative. Turn off the TV if you have to and avoid strife-ruled people. Then go a step further and ask God to bring peace to your family, your community, our country. This is exercising your God-given ability to be a peace-maker, as all of God’s children should be.