Four times in Matthew’s telling of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells us we can expect to be treated in direct relationship to the way we treat others.
The first shows up here, in the beatitudes.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. ~ Matthew 5:7
The next is in the Lord’s prayer:
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. ~ Matthew 6:12-15
In the next chapter Jesus tells us:
Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. ~ Matthew 7:1-2
Finally Jesus tells us to live our lives by one simple rule:
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. ~ Matthew 7:12 NIV
There is another similar statement in Luke’s gospel. It seems that this same principle is true with your time, talent and treasure.
Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return. ~ Luke 6:38
Let’s take a tally. We have mercy, forgiveness, judgment, generosity, and in fact, in all ways, we are to offer others the treatment we desire to receive.
What would happen if you actually treated your wife, sister, brother, husband, boss, neighbor, pastor, enemy… the way you want to be treated?
What if, when someone hurts you, you gave them the same amount of mercy you give yourself when you mess up? Did you get that question?
If you are like me, when you screw up you cut yourself a lot of slack. You rationalize a thousand mitigations and totally excuse yourself. But when others hurt you, will you even listen to their apology?
Many times we find ourselves with no mercy, no forgiveness, and full of judgment especially toward those closest to us. Those who have paid the highest price of relational time with us get the least consideration and mercy.
God’s kingdom is upside-down, isn’t it?
The lengths to which God expects us to go to protect relationships amazes me. But on the other hand, God crucified His only son to restore His relationship with us! If I am ever to look like Jesus, I am going to have to put a much higher value on relationships.
What could you do today to improve a relationship that is not where you want it to be? Ask the Lord for some ideas, if you don’t already know where to start. Even if it is only a baby step toward reconciliation, it will be worth it. Take a deep breath and go for it.
It’s great you stopped by today.
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Bye for now