Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Taz.

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Do Unto Others ..."

This is a reprise of a post I wrote a little bit over a year ago.

Scripture tells us "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." (Matt. 7:12). And most people interpret this passage straightforwardly enough. Whatever you want other people to do you, do that to them. Or, put another way, treat other people the same way you want them to treat you. If a person were to do just this much, they would be doing well.

But I was reading the puritan commentator Matthew Henry on this passage and he added a whole new level of meaning for me. In Henry's thoughts, to be able to do unto others, you first have to put yourself into that person's position and then treat them as you would want to be treated if you were them. Let me explain further. In deciding how to relate to a single mother of two children, first we would have to put ourselves in the place of a single mother of two children and then treat her the same way we would want to be treated if WE were a single mother of two children.

Once you let your mind wrap itself around this idea, the implications can be unsettling if not outright frightening. How would we relate to a prostitute? A skid row drug addict? A teenager struggling with an unwanted pregnancy? A ex-con? The list is endless. But the answer is this ... that we must first put ourselves in their position and then treat them as we would want to be treated if we were them. Then we Christians would come to learn how to "love our neighbor as ourselves..."

It is not enough to simply treat someone well. That is a surface response to Jesus' words. Surface responses are for baby Christians. But the mature believer must go beyond the simple meaning of the words to the intent of the words. To be able to do unto others as Jesus commanded we have to be able to empathize with them. We need to know who the others are before we can do unto them we want to have them do unto us.

Too often communication breaks down because people talk at each other and not to each other. To really communicate we need to be able to "walk a mile in the other person's shoes." When we can see a situation from their point of view, then we are ready to decide how we are going to relate to them.

In my mind, Matthew Henry hit the nail right on the head. He shows us what it really means to go out and obey Jesus' command to "do unto others whatsoever we would have them do unto [us]." In this area, it is time for Christians to quit behaving like children and begin to walk like mature believers.


Blogger Baptist Girl said...

Amen John. The world is watching us. One of favorite quotes is by Spurgeon (of couse *S*)

My brethren, let me say, be like Christ at all times. Imitate him in "public." Most of us live in some sort of public capacity—many of us are called to work before our fellow-men every day. We are watched; our words are caught; our lives are examined—taken to pieces. The eagle-eyed, argus-eyed world observes everything we do, and sharp critics are upon us. Let us live the life of Christ in public. Let us take care that we exhibit our Master, and not ourselves—so that we can say, "It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me."

_ I am finding myself spend less and less time in paltalk....and if I am in a room..I am saying less and less


5:09 PM  
Blogger Paul W. Foltz DD said...

Amen, Brother John. If more would put into practice, what you have posted, WHAT A DIFFERENCE, it would make in our Sovereign Grace oriented Baptist Churches.
And how our love for others would grow....

8:36 PM  

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