Do Unto Others…
Matthew 7:12 So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them…
How I treat those around me is often dependent on how I feel like treating them. So, my behavior may be altered by my mood, sleep, carbohydrate intake or irritability. In short, I act out how I feel, which I am sure makes for fantastic behavior. If I am in a good mood, I may be kind and generous. If I have not had my donut and coffee, I may be quite foul.
This is natural for all of us, I think. We feel angry or irritable so we act out that feeling towards others. Jesus however, says that our treatment of others is not to be determined by how we feel but rather by how we would like to be treated.
It may be natural for me to lash out in irritability when I am irritable but my mood is no justification for bad behavior. I may not be able to control whether or not I feel angry but I am the only one able to choose whether or not I act angry. I often use my illness, fatigue or discomfort to justify bad behavior, which of course reveals how me-focused I am.
Jesus turns this around, insisting that I am not to focus on how I feel like acting but rather on how I would like to be treated. This is of course not natural for me. Little about Jesus teaching is natural. He constantly insists that I forgo my natural impulses and instead act in a manner completely contrary to my nature.
I often ask, What would I do if I were really mature? Then, I act in that manner, contrary to my natural impulse, which is usually the right course of action. The point is, I do not have to be a slave to my nature and I do not have to behave in the manner to which I am inclined.
No where is this more important than inside the walls of my own home where I am quite comfortable to let loose with whatever behavior I feel like. It is of course, easiest use the harshest words to those I love the most. It is not to be this way. I am to consider how I would like to be treated and then treat my wife and children likewise.
If I find that I feel I am not being treated how I want, I can focus on me and demand that my family’s behavior change. Or, I can follow Jesus command and love them as I wish to be loved. If I want to create a loving environment, I need to love those around me instead of demanding they change their behavior.
I am not a slave to my nature and I am not required to lash out in destructive behavior just because I feel like it. It is a my daily choice to love those around me as I wish to be loved.