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Monday, July 25, 2011

"Do Unto Others"

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

Everybody is different.  I think we would all agree on that point and consider it a true fact.  This fact has been very evident in our house today.

Our second oldest child, son Zachary, turned fifteen Saturday. His family birthday party is tomorrow night and he has been very "demanding" (in a kind way) about what he wants for his meal.  He wants pulled pork sandwiches on Kings Hawaiian Roll bread, Ramen Noodle Salad, and Banana Slush Punch with his meal, cake, and ice cream.  

In early June, our third child, son Jacob, turned thirteen.  A "biggie" birthday.  Here was the conversation about his birthday party.  

Me:  What do you want for your meal, Jacob? 
 Jacob:  I don't care.  Anything is fine.
Me:  What kind of cake do you want?
Jacob:  Whatever is easiest for you, Mom.

There is a BIG difference in these two boys!  I love them both, appreciate them both, and enjoy them both!  Their likes are different.  Their dislikes are different.  Their personalities are different.  Their responses are different.  

It's kind of funny that the calmer, non-caring one in the birthday party example, is actually the one who has to work on his temper and attitude.  The more "specific-food-minded" one is actually the one with the calmer, easy-going personality.  They are both different and both unique, just as our other two children are also different and unique.

The verse listed above is commonly known as "The Golden Rule".  My husband and I have been discussing this "rule" lately.  He has asked me and has brought it up in Bible class before if this "treat others the way they want to be treated" is as it seems.  Specifically, should we treat others the way we, ourselves, want to be treated, or rather.....should we treat others the way "they" would want to be treated.  What do you think?

Before you answer, think of the personalities of two of our boys that I've written about above.  The way they want to be treated is different because their personalities are different.  If we, as their parents, "treated" them both the same, would that be a good thing?  We love them the same.  We take care of them the same, but we treat them different just as they treat us different - by their different personalities.

In our parenting of these two boys, as well as our other two children, we actually are careful to parent them the way that they need for their own personalities.

When I think of "The Golden Rule", I think of being a servant.  I think of helping others, caring for the sick, etc.  For me, "treating others the way I want to be treated" means that I am going to go out of my way to help others and to serve others. For me, talking to others is a way of doing just that.  I am very much a people person and a communicator.

On the other hand, my husband is more of a quiet person (in this way...not all ways :)!!)  He is more time-minded.  He is more work-minded.  He will help others and does, but it's in different ways than I do.  If he were to "treat others the way he wants to be treated" would mean no visiting at the hospital, no phone calls or emails of concern, and no analyzing ways to help others.  He isn't going to do or want to do some of the things that seem natural to me because he, himself, wouldn't want those things being done for him.  If he treated the sick the way he would want to be treated, the sick wouldn't ever be visited or tended to!  He's not the typical sick husband!  If he's sick he doesn't want ANYONE (even me) catering to him or doting on him!  He wants everyone to stay away!  

So, maybe when we think of "The Golden Rule", we need to treat others kindly and considerately like we may also want to be treated, but also think about how the people themselves might want to be treated.  Sometimes, in thinking that way, it may be different than what we might think is "right".  But, we have to remember that in many or most things, different responses to things doesn't always mean "wrong".  It's just different.

People will react differently to sickness in themselves, illness of a family member, death of a loved one, personal trials, pain, and other stresses.  They will respond differently.  They will reach out differently.  They will cope differently.  They will expect different responses from their friends and family.  But, different doesn't mean "wrong".  To quote a friend who made a wise statement recently:  "I have to remind myself a lot that you never know how you will go through something until you are there."

The only wrong way we could act or respond to certain situations, was if we failed to rely on God during any of these examples.  If our fear and worry about the situation takes over, instead of our faith in God and gaining our strength from Him, then we've got trouble.  If our inability to get out of our comfort zones in order to serve and help others, then we've got trouble.  God wants us to "do unto others" as His Son, Jesus would have done and actually did do.  In everything and in every way, Jesus served others.  We can imitate him by serving others....and sometimes our "serving" of others will be different than what we might think. It will be serving them the way they want to be served.....the way they need to be served.

On this Gratituesday, I am grateful for God's Word, the example of His Son in the way He showed "The  Golden Rule" to everyone, and for Him creating us all different.  What an awesome Creator!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

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