In my life I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in people. Unfortunately, I have seen myself in each of these categories, by choices and actions in my life. As a Christian, I have learned and matured in my life and spiritual walk to see the impact and influence that comes from how we live and how we treat those around us.
In these last several months there have been very public moments of disregard for civility and compassion for others to the point that there is a clear neglect and contempt for the safety and lives of others. What is going on around the world so far as crime, violence, and injustice can at times cause a heavy cloud of cynicism, disappointment, and sadness to hang over the hopes that things can and will get better with concerns to how people treat one another.
That being said, I have come to see the value and truth in what I have learned as a Christian from the Bible (God's holy word). There are two verses in particular that ring in my mind and heart as I think about how I am called to live in a world that is so broken among people who need light in their lives rather than a constant bombardment of darkness through the sin that permeates so much of what goes on in this world around us.
The first verse is one I learned as a child that is commonly referred to as “The Golden Rule" which says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…” or as it can be read another way, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you...”. Stuart Weber makes a statement that in many ways is sad, but true; he writes, “For those who know the Bible, this verse has the tendency to go the way of John 3:16, often quoted but seldom applied" The immediate connection of this scripture with the preceding verses in Matthew 7 can seen in this light, that since God, as our heavenly Father, is a giver of good things to us, we should imitate Him in showing kindness to others. It is from this statement that Jesus goes beyond passive restraint to active benevolence. The life of a follower of Jesus Christ is not simply a matter of abstinence from sin; it is as well a matter of doing good to those around us, even when they don’t do good to us, because they are not our model and motivation; Jesus is.
The second verse is found in Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul writes, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory”. Now the context of this verse is speaking to the things we do that may be allowable, but aren’t helpful or beneficial. In other words, just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.
While Paul was writing mainly about the subject of food offered to idols, the way he stated the principle, “…or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory”, was speaking to a broader application for the Christian. While we, as Christians, can’t force people to live a certain way, what we can do is to live in such a way that God is glorified and from that God uses it to influence those around us for good; for their good.
Should we live to make a difference in this world, ABSOLUTELY and resolutely! Should we live to be an agent of positive change in our area of influence, WITHOUT QUESTION and without apology! Should we live to glorify God and to do good to those around us? If you love Jesus there is only one answer and that answer is YES and YES!
Again, I have come to see the value and truth in what I have learned as a Christian from the word of God as to how I live my life from both a personal and public perspective, because I have learned in my life and have matured in my spiritual walk to see the impact and influence that comes from how we live and how we treat those around us.
Despite the disregard for civility and compassion that seems to be in ample supply in this world, I choose not to allow cynicism and disappointment to overshadow the hope that I have in Christ and the belief that I have that the church can make a difference by how we treat those around us.
Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you and whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.