Monday, July 2, 2012

How to Treat Others

By Charlotte Lowrie

Walking through life with the Lord is like having a wise, old, and trusted friend available at every moment. Every day, I realize afresh that He knows me better than I know myself, and that His love is incomprehensibly wide and deep. The walk is rich and satisfying even during hard times when jobs disappear, when struggling with a persistent sin, and during times of grief as well as joy. Regardless of what I do, and regardless of what happens, the Lord treats me with such love and kind regard that even the worst circumstances are made doable.

As I reflect on the years spent with the Lord, I’m amazed at how peaceful (conflict-free) our relationship is. I know myself well enough to know that I can be contrary, stubborn, and willful. Yet the Lord leads me so that none of those characteristics interfere with our daily progress. In my years of walking with the Lord, I have never felt pushed or coerced. I’ve always and only felt His complete love in all that we do.

Without question, this is the best relationship that I’ve ever had. Many times, I’ve tried to analyze what the Lord does to work with me so perfectly. And I’ve often thought that if I could imitate Him, then my interactions with my family, friends, and co-workers would be much richer and happier.

So I asked the Lord for his secret. What can I do to treat other people in the same way that you treat me? The Lord answered, "Treat people as they are, not as you want them to be. That is how I treat you."

The wisdom of his answer is, of course, perfect. So often I want others to change or to see things my way. I believe the desire to persuade or change people is present in almost all interactions even if it’s on a subconscious level. And as long as is self-interest is involved, I believe that we never truly see the other person as he or she is. And if we don’t see them as they are, then we see only a distortion of our own making.

The Lord added, "It's a matter of respecting the person's nature and working with it." A key word in this advice is, respect. Respect means to admire someone deeply, such as admiring his or her abilities, qualities, or achievements. Synonyms for respect provide more insight and they include: esteem, honor, regard, and consideration. In fact, these definitions and synonyms describe how the Lord makes me feel in our relationship. And as a result, He makes it easy for me to follow Him. And it makes it easy for me to change—to change my ways, my course, or whatever else needs changing.

As I thought about this perfect relationship that the Lord creates with us, Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:35-41 came to mind. When an expert in Jewish law asked Jesus was the greatest commandment was, the Lord replied, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:35-41 NIV).

The way the Lord treats us every day is a perfect example of love. It is an example that we can imitate as we love God and our neighbors.