So, Let’s See If I Understand This Correctly . . .

Luke 6:31 NASB “Treat people the same way you want them to treat you.”

The Golden Rule, spoken by Jesus, is possibly one of the best-known quotes from the Bible and it is the standard Jesus set for dealing with other people. If we wish to be loved, we must give love. If we wish to be respected, we must respect all persons, even those we dislike. If we wish to be forgiven, we must also forgive. If we wish others to speak kindly of us, we must speak kindly of them and avoid gossip.

There is a distinct difference between presenting a Biblical case that invalidates the logic or reasoning that someone uses, and demeaning or throwing insults towards the individual that we are in disagreement with. And yet, for some reason, many Christians seem to think that not only is this behaviour not only acceptable but they applaud those who also do it.

We talk about how things are being turned upside down and yet, many of us fail to recognize that we are also complicit. How so you say? Let me give you some examples.

We seem to think that it is fair game to slander or bear false witness about others, which in essence means spreading unsubstantiated untruths (lies). And just so you know, no, just because it is on the Internet does NOT mean that it is true.

We seem to think that it is acceptable to hurl demeaning accusations about someone else’s character, which in essence means justifying the validation of the degradation of another person’s character.

We seem to think that because someone is our sworn enemy, that it is fine to treat them as such. We seem to think that because someone is evil, through to the core, that they do not deserve mercy or forgiveness.

We seem to think that it is acceptable to speak half truths, but detest those who do the same thing.

I could make a much longer list but I would assume you can see where this is going. In essence, there are many Christians who have one set of standards for others and another set for themselves.

If I hear one more person justify their personal unbiblical words and actions by stating that as Christians we are to stand up for truth and call out evil when we see it, I may end up chewing off my lower lip. Are we to validate truth and identify evil when we see it. ABSOLUTELY!!! We clarify what is untrue by stating what is true and we identify evil or sin by clarifying what it is and what action needs to be taken. But nowhere in the New Testament do we see CHRISTIANS attacking the individual PERSONALLY as being justified. Even the Apostle Paul left that to God.(2 Thessalonians 1:4-10, 2 Timothy 2:24-26, 2 Timonty 4:14 refers).

But you say, how about Jesus, did He not lash out at the Pharisees, scribes and Sadducees? Yes He did but there is a distinct difference between Jesus and you and I. Jesus was and is perfect, He continually followed the will of God the Father without any deviation whatsoever. He is the Master, we are the students. Jesus didn’t have to consider removing the log out of His own eye before speaking to others, we do. Did Jesus sin? No He did not. Do we still sin, yes we do.

Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

2 Timothy 2:16 “But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.”

Colossians 3:8 “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”

Luke 6:45 “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

James 3:5 “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!”

And of course, you know that this is but yet a very small sample.

If we, as Children of God, are to be light in the darkness, then we should be different from the darkness.

Luke 6:27-36 NASB: “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who are abusive to you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat people the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil people. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Emphasis is mine.

Does Isaiah 5:20-21 NASB also apply to us? I think it does.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
And clever in their own sight!”

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!





25 comments

  1. Much good points Bruce, Biblical advice and Bible to back it up. Good example to us all. I’m in total agreement. To the one who wants to be critical of another: by the measure/standard you use you are judged; Who am I to judge another’s servant; love one-another as Christ loves you. The only authorized weapon is the sword/Word. Be sure to be girded with the truth when wielding it

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  2. Thanks, Bruce, for another insightful and timely post. This IS the most important discussion of our day. How do we both respond to our enemies in love and stand against evil? Blessings my friend!

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  3. Bruce, I so agree with you. I have heard those same words about truth spoken by believers as they slay others with their words and feel so self-righteous. I have regrettably done it myself. We must be SO careful to speak with love! Good post! (Save the lower lip, you may need it someday!)

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    • Hi Valerie, I’m pretty sure that we’ve all been there at varying degrees and I know for sure that I have. It was when I ran into the utter hatred and total contempt of others, displayed by Christians who said they loved like Jesus but stood up for truth in boldness, that I realized it had nothing to do with boldness, when they were attacking or displaying hatred and contempt for the other individual. We may totally disagree with the other person’s logic or worldview but Jesus definitely does ask us to treat them with dignity and respect and not to replicate their distaste or contempt for us by returning it in like manner. That is indeed what is supposed to make us different from the way of the world. And justifying our hatred and contempt for others by saying that Jesus did it when He spoke harshly against the Pharisees, scribes and Sadducees, which He did, does not justify us doing the same thing because we are not perfect and not sinless like Jesus is and was. Jesus also accepted invitations to eat at Pharisees homes, spoke to them at length about spiritual realities and went out of His way to show that even the Samaritans, who the pure Jews deplored, where people who needed to be ministered to. It’s amazing how when you really look at the whole picture ( all the words of Jesus and all the actions of Jesus) that Jesus gave us (learn of Me), that saying Jesus did it clearly does not justify the total rejection and hatred of others that far too many Christians show for those who oppose the message of reconciliation that Jesus came to deliver. And once you see that “difference” you start to see it everywhere. John 3:16 for instance, “For God so loved the world . . .” Notice it doesn’t say EXCEPT all Pharisees, all Communists, all people of the LGBTQ persuasion. You definitely can disagree and totally distance yourself with what they stand for but that does NOT include them as individuals who still need to hear and see the love of God, which Jesus tells us to do, in spite of how they treat us. And the ultimate demonstration of this is Jesus Himself, when He was nailed to a cross by those He came to reconcile to God and He asked His Father to forgive them because they knew not what they did. No we do not become Communists or move back into immorality or buy into their thinking, but we do not reject them as individuals as being less worthy of needing God’s love and forgiveness than anyone else, including ourselves. When Jesus accepted the invitation to eat at a Pharisees home, did Jesus change who He was by doing so? Did He compromise His message? No He did not, because Jesus came into the world to save sinners and the bottom line is that is what all of us are, without exception. Is this mindset that Jesus gave us difficult to follow? Extremely, because it goes against our natural inclination to protect and defend ourselves. And yet, this is exactly what Jesus asks us to do. Luke 6:27-36 refers. And once again this shows me how different God is from us and this includes obviously Jesus and I marvel at what He showed us. If anything this makes me realize how totally dependent upon Him we are and how different Jesus is from us, just like His Father. This is heavy, I know it, but it is a reality that we miss or ignore at our own peril. And if we fall short at this, even when we incorrectly defend our wrong words and actions towards others, does this not make us like those who we personally accuse? Hate the sin that the sinner commits and defends but love the individual who sins. “We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) comes to mind. Sorry for going on, these thoughts came to my mind and the next thing you know, I’ve written another article. Blessings Valerie, God’s grace and forgiveness is a wonderful thing.

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      • Well Bruce, you are totally clear and it is an ESSENTIAL message to the church! We need to be full of His Love, Grace and Truth. Then, we will be in a position to minister the gospel according to the leading of The Holy Spirit!!!

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