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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Treat others as you'd have them treat you

Contrary to what we might think is normal, when one does something we hate, we should not hate that person back. We must, instead, lead by example. We must do on to others as we would have them do on to us -- or so the saying goes.

In ancient days it was taught an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. If your friend hit you, you were to hit him back. If he ripped off your ear, you ripped off his ear and beat him to a pulp until he reasoned. And then this would continue to no end.

To the dismay of the masses, Jesus taught that we should do the opposite, and this would make us seen as better prophets by those around us, and, in the end, by the final judge. Instead, Jesus taught (Matthew 5: 38-48), "But now I tell you: do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If anyone slaps you on the left cheek, let him slap you on the right."

We do have it in us to respect other people, even those who do not treat us with equal respect. Instead of hating the person back who hates you, instead of complaining and cursing, we should respect that person back. Why? Because you are better than that person.

In Baptism, we all become God's temples; we all becomes temples of Christ. When someone destroy's a temple, God will destroy that person. Since we are all temples of Christ, we are all responsible for being kind and merciful to everyone, including those temples you do not particularly like. (Corinthians 3: 16-23)

As temples, it is our job to spread the word of God. God is symbolic of virtues. In this sense, God made us all in His image. We all have it in us to be perfect (or to strive for it) like Him. We can be good. We can all be virtuous.

The opposite of virtuous is destruction, just as can be seen by the Tower of Babel. By worshiping yourself, or your stuff, or your false gods, you are thus worshiping a path that will only lead to disarray. If you have disarray in your life, you should look in the mirror, and not at those you hate.

The problem is that most fools do not know they are fools.

Thus, since God is merciful and forgiving, so can we be merciful and forgiving. Likewise, those who are virtuous, those who do good on to others, those who do not complain and curse, are more respected by society.

Matthew (5: 38-48) writes that the sun doesn't just shine on the good, and the rain does not shine only on those who worship him. By rain here Matthew is referring to the hand of nature that allows crops to grow and flourish. The sun shines on the good and the evil. The rain falls on those you like and those you do not like. God, in this way (or nature if you do not believe in God), treats all temples the same.

Likewise, we are all judged at the end of our lives, not in the middle. We all have our ups and our downs. And therefore, it is the person that we are in the end that is judged. So if God judges the end result, we should not think ourselves better than God and judge a person by their actions today. We, like God, should reserve judgement.

In other words, we should not judge a person by one event, or one moment, in that person's life.  Yet, as we all know -- such as by the expression "first impressions mean a lot" -- we are all tempted to judge, judge early, and judge often.

In this sense, we are not worthy to judge. The wise person who thinks he is worthy enough to judge is a fool, and will be judged himself as a fool in the end.

Likewise, as recorded in Leviticus (19: 1-2, 17-19), "Do not bear a grudge against anyone, but settle your differences with him, so that you will not commit a sin because of him. Do not take revenge on anyone or continue to hate him, but love your neighbor as you love yourself."

I wrote about this in more detail in this post: The Key to success: stop complaining. Would you want some one cursing and complaining about you if they thought you were imperfect? I think the majority of us would answer that question with a flat out NO.

Your boss may be a fool, and that's no reason to be a fool in return. Your boss may be the wise one all along, and perhaps you are the fool. Since you are not perfect yourself, who are you to judge others, and who are you to hold a grudge against another.

So, in this sense, we must treat others as we'd have them treat us. If someone slaps us on the left cheek, we must offer the right. If someone asks us to walk a mile, we must walk two.

Note:  I have a post coming up "How to deal with criticism and faults" where I'll discuss where it is appropriate to judge.  For example, it's essential to question and judge stupidity.  People hate to be judged, yet at time's it's essential.


Levaticus 19: 1-2, 17-19
Corinthians 3: 16-23
Matthew 5 38-48

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