Have you ever wondered why people don’t treat you the way that you want to be treated? Let me take you a step further and ask you: Why do you expect people to treat you a certain way?
I think that when we treat people in a certain way, we expect them to treat us the same way, especially if we consider our way of treating them a “good” way. We treat people well because we want to follow the “Golden Rule.” In Matthew 7:12, Christ says, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (NKJV)
The problem arises when we expect that when we treat people well, they will automatically treat us well back. This is the expectation right? You wish for Bob to say good morning everyday, so you go to work and say good morning everyday. The one day when you forget to say good morning, Bob says nothing. You go on wondering why Bob doesn’t treat you the same way that you treat him. Or, when Sasha doesn’t say good things about you to the boss, while you always make sure to tell the boss how great Sasha is doing, and you end up getting upset. Just because you treat others with respect, love, and care does not (and will never mean) that they will treat you the same way.
Isn’t that interesting though? God is asking us to treat others how we want to be treated. So, I guess we have to first determine how we want to be treated. I think it would be rare for someone to want to be treated badly or unkindly. So, we will often want others to treat us with respect, love, and care (or whatever else). Now what? Now, we begin to be the proactive members in relationships and begin to treat others with respect, love, and care (or whatever else). Ok, now what? Now, we observe how disrespectful, unloving, and unkind people could still be towards us. Wow…so, now what?
Now, we are meant to not change who Christ wants to be just because people are treating us badly. That is DIFFICULT!!!
It is a difficult challenge for us to treat others with love when they do not show us love (or they even show us hate). I guess that it is no wonder that Jesus Christ goes on to say in Matthew 7:13-14:
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
At times, we try to argue and cry our way out of the narrow gate. What is the narrow gate? The narrow gate is the more difficult road – the road of love and charity. This road is not the road of paying evil for evil nor is it the road of always getting our way. It is the road of waiting on the Lord patiently. Yet, we have hope as the Psalm says:
“But the ways of the righteous shine like a light;
They go before and give light until full daylight.
But the ways of the ungodly are dark;
They do not know how they stumble.”
Psalm 4:17-18 (LXX)
So, our hope is that when we walk in the narrow path through unpopular righteousness and godliness, we are actually walking in the light and not in darkness.