Do unto others

It is easy to belittle the overweight man when you eat all you want and never gain a pound.

It is easy to ridicule the chronically ill when you haven’t been sick a day in your life.

It is easy to be exasperated with the parents of a special needs child when you don’t have a special needs child.

It is easy to say, “They just need to spank that kid more” when it isn’t your child.

It is easy to say abuse never happens when it never happens to you.

It is easy to say that sexual assault isn’t that bad, when it didn’t happen to you.

It is easy to say, “I know that guy. He is such a wonderful man. He could never do something like that” if you aren’t the one he has preyed upon.

It is easy to say there is no such thing as a wolf when you refuse to see the sheep’s clothing.

It is easy to rail against welfare and food stamps if you have never been hungry.

It is easy to scoff and mock the one who struggles with same-sex attraction when all of your sexual sins are vanilla and hetero.

It is easy to tell a woman that she has to return to her husband when you have never been in physical or emotional danger.

It is easy to tell a person with anxiety or depression to “get over it” when you don’t have anxiety or depression.

It is easy to say, “Words can’t hurt you” when you have never been subjected to the repeated and regular assault of vicious and contemptuous words.

It is easy to tell another parent how to raise their child.

It is easy to tell your unbelieving neighbor that all they need is Jesus when they are bleeding from wounds you can’t see and couldn’t understand.

It is easy to tell someone that racism doesn’t exist anymore – especially if you are white and middle-class.

What is hard is to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.

What is hard is to bear one another’s burdens.

What is hard is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

What is hard is to “esteem the other better than yourself, in lowliness of mind.”

To do what is hard takes patience. To do what is hard means to give of yourself and be quick to hear. It takes sacrifice and love and empathy and kindness.

To do what is hard means we have to put aside our pride and understand that we are not the measure of a man, and our experiences are not the infallible, inerrant final word. To do what is hard means that we must put on Christ,

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Phi 2:6-8)

But in order to do that, we must put to death the old man. It is the old man that is the expert on everyone else’s life. It is the old man that is the busybody and talebearer. The wicked are characterized by scoffing, not the righteous.

The new man is different. He is being conformed to the image of Christ, who never ridiculed, never mocked, never belittled. When the poor and the lame and the blind and the deaf came to him, he healed them. He listened. He fed them. He commanded us to do the same.

Paul said that the only one capable of helping someone with a fault is the “spiritual one” (Galatians 6:1). The spiritual one is the one led by the spirit, filled with the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, patience…”

The spiritual one is the one who has learned how to listen, to walk alongside the wounded. She is the one with patience and longsuffering. He speaks words of kindness and edification, not mocking and ridicule.

It takes the new birth to be a spiritual one.

Until you have learned to listen, study to be silent. You don’t know everything. Until then, pray for wisdom. Be diligent to listen. Quit being afraid of people different than you and don’t fear the reproach of men for doing what Christ commanded.

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. (Phi 4:5)

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8 Comments

Filed under Pastoral ministry, Patience

8 responses to “Do unto others

  1. Lee

    Encouraging message…

    Sorry you blocked me on Messenger. Not sure why you were offended by the dedication video to our President. I asked you a question about CINO’s, Christians in Name Only, but it didn’t go through because you blocked me.

    Proverbs 27:6 KJV
    Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

  2. Hi, Lee. I have a right to decide what content I am interested in. I have a bunch of people that send me all sorts of links to things and I eventually ask them to stop. It clogs up my time.
    I asked you to stop sending me things on messenger. You replied asking me if I was a “Christian in name only”
    That was when I blocked. It should seem self-explanatory.
    I don’t have any intention of carrying on this conversation on my blog, either.
    I’m glad you enjoy my blog. I still don’t have the time to watch every video that people send me. And I shouldn’t have to vindicate my Christianity because I don’t want to watch a Trump video.

  3. Scott Willingham

    Thank you for continuing to write Sam. Your words are an encouragement to many- me included.
    Thank you very much, Scott Willingham Texas FCA Motocross 254-413-0699
    >

  4. Deb7

    Thankyou so much for your blog, every time I read your words I’m edified and it’s like water to a parched soul. I’m trying to stay close to Jesus at a time of immense trauma due to emotional and spiritual abuse, people like me need these words to help encourage us and renew our minds. I’m truly truly grateful to you. May God continually fill you and bless you.

  5. Thank you so much Sam for this important reminder!
    “The wicked are characterized by scoffing, not the righteous.”
    This helps me put in proper perspective things we experience as part of living on this planet, which ever way we turn. I had been so discouraged by the way people tear each other apart on social media but your reminder of which spirit is in them explains it all and also reminds me put it all into perspective.
    Thank you for your writing and speaking, it resonates with me and is very encouraging & always worth reading!

  6. Anu Riley

    Am sorry I’m so late to the conversation. It didn’t take long to read but there was a lot in there to chew on for sure!

    Amazingly written, as always. It isn’t easy to find just the right words, and use them in just the right way—-to communicate. And when you are touching on such “touchy” topics such as these—every word must have a certain amount of weight in order to make an impact.

    I couldn’t pinpoint where I could personally relate in each of one of your hypothetical situations. Without a doubt, I could easily see myself in the “it’s easy” and “it’s hard” scenarios.

    One of the reasons why we behave so callously isn’t just because it is what comes “naturally” to us (and as you put, only by being born again can you do what does NOT come naturally)—-it’s because we are embarrassed to admit we struggle with certain sins, or have committed them.

    Another reason why I think we instinctively lash out, is because being around the suffering makes us uncomfortable. I liken it being at a “crime scene.” There nothing but blood, sweat and tears there. Truly, only a person motivated by the love of God can choose to brave all of that. No one likes being reminded of the fragility of humanity. No one likes being reminded that sin truly is a real and relevant temptation, nor do they want to see what sin can do to a person, or to those around them.

    My last thought is one I know you’ve seen over and over again. We tend to think politically versus spiritually. A person is usually only worth helping if there is little to no risk for us. AND we will only help those that in no way, shape or form—-contributed to their current situation.

    This is why I believe we tend to have little to no compassion for others. We believe they have reaped what they have sowed. You married an abuser? No one put a gun to your head; why did you chose to marry him or her? You divorced an abuser? No one but a gun to your head, so why are you claiming he or she was abusive?

    Nearly anyone and everyone who comes forth with their stories of trial, tribulation, testing and/or temptation has to face some sort of backlash. It is absolutely 100% truth: “To do what is hard means that we must put on Christ.”

    I don’t go around broadcasting parts of my life that I consider to be very private, and very personal. But I see no reason to be ashamed of them, either. So I try to pull them out if I feel it might be relevant.

    Here is one of them:

    I struggled with same sex attraction for a very short period of time, And I am married. There was no particular woman that set this off, and I never acted on any of those urges.

    What saved me is—first of all, the Lord being there with me. But I also had the huge advantage of knowing why I was struggling that way. It was at a time where my female friends were slowly exiting my life. I could tell that the voids they were creating were causing me to “long for” the company and comfort of women.

    But at heart, I was simply feeling the effects of their departures. And I believed that the devil was trying to twist that into something else—which is one of the devil’s greatest “talents.” He will take something non-sinful like loneliness and twist it so that you deal with it in sinful ways.

    That is something that has dogged me for years. It’s remarkable how a person is tempted to, and will often choose to—deal with their real life problems in the wrongest ways possible.

    Bear in mind, I’m of the belief that we are tempted by our own sinful urges, and the devil only adds to that struggle. What was going on in me was real, and he certainly tried to amplify it. But the real battle was within me, separate from the devil. And the Lord gave me incredible grace to deal with it.

    I’ve been through a lot of what you mentioned, but for the life of me that doesn’t mean I know how they should be dealt with! Everyone is different, and every situation has their unique circumstances. So “doing unto others” doesn’t mean you have the answers. It means that you acknowledge that they are in real pain, and are dealing with real problems.

    That is possibly one of the OTHER reasons why we pull away from others. If there is nothing we can “do” to help solve their problems, then why get involved at all? And there is no guarantee that our efforts will pay off. So why should we help, if there are no tangible results?

    If that is how we choose to think, then we are implying that the Gospel itself is a waste of time. It is only good to get people into Heaven, but does not do much good during their earthly lives.

    Christ said that it means more than we can imagine if we give a drink of water to a thirsty person. One might say—why? They’ll just get thirsty again. Are we supposed to stand over them 24/7, giving them more and more water?

    My answer to that is from Ezekiel 1649: “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”

    One of the points in “doing unto others” is not to pander to their pain, but to strengthen them. One has NO idea what it does to a person to be shown love in this way. There is nothing more uplifting than to be told or shown in some way that you MATTER.

    By the way, I know from experience the delicate balance that needs to be struck. If you are not seeing them strengthened by your efforts, that might be a warning sign that something isn’t going right.

    With that knowledge in mind, a person who is hurting in one of the many ways you described might (or might not) be emboldened to face another day. Or take some action that might improve their condition in some way.

    Go further, and entertain the thought that you MIGHT (or might not) see that person you (may or may not have) strengthened in Heaven, because the Lord used you to plant a good seed on good soil. Because you “did unto” someone. That is too good of a potential scenario to pass up.

    Or, you “did unto” someone what someone did for you—or did not do. I wrote you about that awhile ago. Sometime the ones that HAVE suffered see no reason to help others, since no one helped them. They are bitter and jealous that others are being helped, when no one came to their rescue. But, then they can brag that they pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, and self-righteously claim that others should do the same.

    Last thought. I think it’s GREAT if someone was able to dig themselves out with no outside help. I have NO idea why that justifies not helping someone else out who may not be as confident as you apparently were. In fact, if such a person is so supposedly superior and so sure of how to solve all the world’s problems, he or she should run for office.

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