The Golden Rule. I was raised with it. I don't know if it is a Southern thing, or if it taught to little ones all over, but I know that the phrase "Treat others as you would like to be treated" was a common saying in my childhood. Mostly it was preached to girls who just have a hard time getting along (so much girl drama!) with other girls or when someone was faced with a bully, but really, it is so very important!
Look at how Jesus reacted to those around him. He was constantly stressing the importance of accepting the "unacceptable". He made friends with the most unlikely people because he loved them. And if you have ever been "ousted" for any reason, wouldn't you have liked someone to reach out and love you?
Just recently I was reminded of this Golden Rule in 3 different ways, and I wanted to share them with you.
1. My hubs and I are beginning a new series in the Youth Sunday School class we lead on apologetics (we are using this book if you are interested) . As we were explaining the definition of Apologetics, and how important it is to show Christ through our lives, we talked about some of the different ways to tell others about God. We explained how you could use logic, emotion, or just plain old actions. Joe and I gave examples from our own lives of how we have tried to share the Lord with others using each of those. Suddenly I was reminded of how Christians' actions can actually deter people from the Lord. I recently came across an article that was a plea to Christian restaurant-goers. Sundays after church is the perfect time to show God's love to others. You are still in your church clothes, and the glory of the Lord's message should still be fresh in your minds, but as you enter a restaurant, do you represent the Lord in a way that would reflect Him? If you had to work Sundays, would you want people to treat you the way you have treated the servers? The hour or so you are in there can really make a difference.
2. THEN after church, after we were going over this lesson with the youth, Joe and I decided to go out to eat. We almost never go out to eat on Sundays. I normally just cook from home, but we had had a busy weekend, and Joe was nice enough to give me a break. So off to Applebee's we went. As we walked in there was a mixture of obvious "fresh-from-church" people and those who may not go to church. Joe and I make an effort to teach our children to treat the servers and hostess with respect. They are expected to use their manners, clean up their messes, learn how to tip well, and to thank the staff before we leave. Unfortunately, the table next to us had a different idea on how to treat those who worked there. There was an older woman, who, from what I could gather, was a teacher, her son, and her son's girlfriend. I felt sorry for our server as he worked hard to please that particular table. They were rude, demanding, and didn't make any effort to make things any easier on the waiter as they left their tip in a handful of coins they dug from their pockets and purses. I was mortified as I watched them laugh at another waiter, who had their food and was delivering it for their waiter, wander around looking for the right table. He walked past them 3 times trying to find the right table, and they never once said anything although they knew that was their food. I heard the woman say, "Huh. Look at him walking around with all those trays. He doesn't even know that is our food. Watch him go back to the kitchen with our food." They never said anything to the poor guy, and then they complained about a tomato on a hamburger that they could have easily taken off, but, instead, asked the entire plate be taken back to the kitchen for the tomato to be removed. Seeing that made me want to do whatever I could to make that poor guy's day just a little better, and to set a better example for our children. Just because they are serving you doesn't mean you have to treat them like servants.
3. My last example of how God reminded me about the Golden Rule was through a fictional novel I just finished reading. In She Makes It Look Easy, by Marybeth Whalen, the two main characters were women in a fancy, smancy neighborhood. One had been there a long time and had established herself as the organizational guru of the neighborhood. The other woman just moved into the neighborhood and was just trying to get her life in order. To be brief in my explanation, the situations those ladies, and some of the other ladies, end up in reminded me that no one truly knows what is going on in someone else's life. So when you exclude someone (purposely or not), say something not-so-nice about others, or when you are just plain old rude to someone else, you are not following The Golden Rule.
All of this to say that God must really have someone in mind for me to treat better than I have. I was convicted of this triple reminder that we need to love on others. We need to really represent the Lord in a way that will glorify him. As I assess the way I treat others, and focus on who I need to make amends with, I challenge you to do the same.
And in the light of all of this, if you have not read my post and comments "No One Talks about It!", I would ask that you, especially the ladies, check it out. I would like to start a new series where women help each other out by giving tips on what to say/do and not say/do to other women who are dealing with difficult situations. I know that there were times in my life that I had wished there was someone who would just attempt to help me deal with a situation. I know others feel the same way. So please check it out and email me your suggestions. I would really appreciate it. I hope this will help you to remember to treat each other with love and to work on The Golden Rule every day.