Do Unto Others
Read Matthew 7:1-12
These few verses in today’s reading contain several very familiar passages, dealing with asking, doing, and judging. Jesus is laying down a solid foundation for our response to these life issues, and whether you've gotten to know Him or not, I imagine you've uttered His words a time or two yourself.
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
Do unto others... The Golden Rule. Jesus first spoke it, and over the centuries, many have adopted it. It's been taught in schools and framed in offices. It's known virtually worldwide as the rule of thumb for any healthy relationship... and it first came from the lips of Jesus. The Golden Rule is something we've tried to encourage in our household, as have many families. And it seems to be working, as long as we don't give into the temptation to reverse the order and treat others as they have already treated us. Once we do this, we're onto an even bigger problem... being judgmental.
Some of us just love to point out other people's faults. Being critical seems to come naturally. Yet bringing to light someone else’s weakness can become our weakness. I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised that Jesus addressed this issue, in no uncertain terms.
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ~ Matthew 7:1, 2
Some very strong words. Strong, and maybe even painful. The following verse stays on the same theme of judging, but throws another log (or is it plank?) onto the fire of the message.
And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? ~ Matthew 7:3
This message was never driven closer to home than at our home during supper when our kids were small. It was right after our meal-time prayer, when one of our sons piped up all excited to make a very important announcement. Seemingly without thinking, Eric blurted out, Adam was praying with his eyes open! Now you can probably guess what came to mind. In order to see this eye-opening event, Eric, too had to have committed the offense. But Adam spoke up first. He leaned over and mumbled something to his brother, which caused Eric to say with even more enthusiasm, Adam called me a tattletale! The speck and the plank... both alive and well in our household.
I hope you get the picture. We’re all human. We've all sinned. We all deserve nothing less than death, yet we've all been given the same gift – the key to real life, eternal life. And this key is in the shape of a Cross.
The minute I begin judging others is the moment I've taken my eyes off of that Cross. If my gaze is completely fixed on Him, the One Who went to the Cross, there’s no room in me for arrogance or pride. I've looked into the eyes of mercy, I've basked in the warmth of grace. And there is no other response for me but humble gratitude. I've seen how far sin can take me and counted the steps He took to reach me.
And I’m humbled at how far God's love will go when given the chance.
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