So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Jesus told us to do to others what we would have them do for us. What does this mean?
Does it mean that I should give gifts to others that I would want myself? Should I give my husband that new dress I want? Of course not! We should take into consideration the likes and preferences of recipient when choosing a gift. Even a child understands that!
This verse is talking about putting aside our own desires and doing good towards others, treating them the way we want to be treated – with honor, respect, kindness, and love.
So who are the “others” in this verse? They are everyone we come in contact with – strangers, coworkers, store clerks, and even our immediate family.
Sometimes it easy to forget do unto our family as we want them to do unto us.
A few years ago, I led a group of ladies through a studies of the “One Another” verses – verses that tell us how to treat one another. We discussed how easy it is to yell at our kids or speak to them in a way we would never want to be spoken to. As wives we sometime treat our husbands with disrespect, but if they do it to us, we get upset. We talked about our need to rethink the way we treated those living in our own home.
Each week, I gave them a list of three to five verses which we discussed, then they were encouraged to pick one thing to work on at home. They were to pick one verse and put the name of someone in their home in place of the words “one another” or “each other”. For one week they were to try to work on that one thing for that one person. It was amazing to see the difference it made in the homes of these ladies. I worked on my own behavior as well.
Below are some of the verses we studied. There are dozens of them in the Bible!
I encourage you to pick one verse. Put the name of someone close to you in place of the “one another” and ask God to help you apply that verse to your relationship this week.
Romans 15:7 |NIV
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Acceptance does not require that we understand then or agree with them completely. But I need to accept each of children for who they are without trying to make them who I want them to be. God have each of them unique. I need to accept their uniqueness.
Colossians 3:16 |ESV
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God
How do you admonish or correct your children. Or your spouse? Are you kind or gratefully? Are you thankful for their presence in your life, or are they an annoyance?
Colossians 3:12-13 |ESV
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
I had to learn compassion. It can be learned! As can each of the traits mentioned in this passage. The last part addresses forgiveness. God forgave us even while we were still in the midst of our junk. He didn’t demand that we get perfect before forgiving us. Are you willing to forgive others even before they ask?
Ephesians 4:30-32 |ESV
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
The words in this passage need no explanation. We simply need to start doing what it says.
Philippians 2:3-4 |ESV
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
My life is so much better when I walk in humility and look out for the interests of those around me instead of just being selfish. Notice that this verse doesn’t say to ignore your own needs. There are times when I have to put my self-care above then demands of everyone else. But once I have taken time out to rest or pray, I am more able to clearly see the needs of those around me and which ones I am to help with.
1 Peter 3:8-9 |NIV
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
It is so easy to repay hurt for hurt, insult for insult, and yelling with more yelling. But when we react with patience, kindness, and humility, we see much better results!
1 Thessalonians 5:13-15 |NIV
Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
It seems that moms are constantly warning the idle and disruptive! Have you taken time to encourage your broken-hearted teen? Have you been patient with your younger ones? This is not an easy passage to live out, but peace will reign if you do.
1 John 4:7-12 |ESV
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
My sweet mother-in-law Rita raised four boys. When I would call and tell her about the latest issue with one of my seven, her response was always the same, “Just love them.” She was right. I didn’t love them perfectly, and I’ve had to make amends for my mistakes, but I tried to follow her advice.
Love your family. Do unto them as you would have them do unto you.