Relating to One Another

The greatest challenge in life is learning to love one another in a fallen world. The Lord exhorted us to love our enemies (Lu. 6:27-36), and restrain from judging one another (vss. 37-42). It takes the grace of God to love those who hate us. Consider the dynamics going on between two people who are at each other’s throats. Chances are they will be attacking the other person’s character while looking out for their own needs, which is exactly opposite of what we are commanded to do. Before God we are responsible for our own character and the needs of those around us. Romans 14:4 says, “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” And Philippians 2:3-5 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

What would life be like if everybody assumed their responsibility for their own character and committed themselves to love one another? Becoming like Jesus leads to meeting one another’s needs. Too often we are waiting for the other person to love us, and fail to see our own character flaws. We must take the plank out of our own eye before we even consider looking at the speck in someone else’s eye.

How should we respond to those who aren’t Jesus followers? The Lord said, “Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Lu. 6:27). In other words, respond to their bad attitude with deeds of kindness, and speak well of those who speak bad of you. Should their bad attitude and speech digress to bad behavior then all you can do is pray for them. The point is, nobody can keep you from being the person God created you to be, so don’t let immature people determine who you are. When treated poorly by others, do not respond in kind. Instead, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (vs. 31).

You get out of life what you put into it. If you want a friend, then be a friend. If you want someone to love you, then love someone. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you” (vss.37, 38). It is one of life’s great compensations to know that you cannot help another without helping yourself in the process. Whatever life asks of you, give a little more and it will come measuring back to you. “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (vs. 38).

Dr. Neil

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