Let’s treat others.

 

 

 

[Matthew 7:12]

 

 

Are you being treated well?  In Pohang, there is ‘Seven Commandments of How to Be Treated’ written by Mr. Seung-gil Lee, who lives in Pohang.  Perhaps the original title is ‘How to be treated when you are old’.  But it could also be applied to everyone, old or young (Internet): (1) ‘Clean Up – Keep your home and environment clean.  Organize quarterly - arrange - boldly discard unnecessary items.  Valuables - Don't let your belongings rust by hiding them in a closet.  No one will notice even if you leave it as an inheritance.  Give it as a gift to a friend or neighbor while you are alive.  How happy would they be?  How cool is that.  (2) Dress Up – Always keep your appearance neat, so as not to be sloppy.  Don't spare your clothes.  Dye your hair.  Wear clothes in trendy colors.  Clean your shoes.  (3) Shut Up – Close your mouth.  Listen better than speak.  Don't say ‘In my old days I ...’, ‘Once upon a time I ...’, ‘If I could just add one word ....’  Even if I don't say it, everyone knows it well.  Don't make people tired.  Do I always need to say something?  Ask yourself.  (4) Show Up – Don't miss out on all meetings: Church, alumni association, family reunion, unusual meeting, club meeting...etc.  Didn't it say out of sight, out of mind?  Even if it bothers you - even if you don't want to go - go meet them.  (5) Cheer Up – Always live bright and happy.  Even if there is nothing to be bright and nothing to be happy about, pretend to be bright and pretend to be happy.  It's strange.  In that way, there will be an unprecedented brightness and an unprecedented joy.  (6) Pay Up – If you don't have money, give it to your body.  If your body isn't cool, say words of blessing with your mouth.  Don't take, give.  Blessed is the giver.  There has to be something to help everywhere.  There is a saying: ‘The more you open your mouth, the lower your dignity.  The more the wallet is opened, the more elegant it is.  If you close your mouth and open your wallet, your dignity will reach the sky.’  (7) Give Up – This is the most important part.  Give up.  Do not wait for something in the relationship between husband and wife-relatives-children-friends-neighbors.  Do not wish.  Isn't it time you know that there is a different path that you and I have to go my own way?  Don't have lingering attachment.  So light your heart and go your way.

 

In today's text, Matthew 7:12, Jesus says, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”  With the title of “Let’s treat others,” centering on this message today, I hope and pray that we will all glorify God by receiving and obeying the lessons the Lord gives to us.

 

 

                Do you like to be treated?  I read an Internet column under the title, ‘How to treat foreigners in international transactions?’  The reason I read that article is because the person who wrote it also mentioned Matthew 7:12.  She has been in the trading business for more than 25 years and has met and entertained many foreigners of different nationalities and cultures, telling the universal truth that does not change when hosting foreigners: As the saying goes, ‘A word that goes well, a word that comes is good’ and ‘A single word pays a thousand dollars’, it is said that if you treat someone with all your heart and not only with words, then there will always be a reward from the other person as well (Internet).  Who wouldn't like to be treated with sincerity?  Don't we all like to be treated?  And my personal opinion is to be treated, I don't think there's anything wrong with it.  The problem isn't our instinct to be treated.  It's that we don't treat others the way we want them to be treated.  For example, I was treated with sincerity by the other person, so I felt really good.  But I treat the other person roughly without being sincere.  Why do we treat other like this?  I think the reason is because we do not believe in the principle of blessing that “It is more blessed to give than to receive” in Acts 20:35.  And the reason is because even though we know the joy of receiving, we do not know the joy of giving.  Another problem is that we treat others with complaints and resentment instead of with a joyful heart.  A good example is the story of Martha serving Jesus in Luke 10:38-42.  Martha, who welcomed Jesus into her home (v. 38), was busy with many preparations (v. 40).  But Mary, her sister, did not help her.  Rather she sat at the Lord's feet and listened to the Lord's words (v. 39).  Then Martha went to Jesus and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me” (v. 40).  Then Jesus said to Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (vv. 41-42).  Actually, like Martha, aren’t we going to worry and bother about so many things, even after we invited our pastor to come to our house and try to welcome and treat the servant of the Lord?  How hard is it for housewives to see her husband or her children leaving her to work when guests come home?  Therefore, serving guests with joy is not an easy task.  Perhaps that's why it's not easy to see often inviting guests to our home with a happy and voluntary heart in the busy life of immigrants.  But God tells us in 1 Peter 4:9, “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.”  Also, God commands this in Romans 12:13, “contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”  Just thinking about these two verses in the Bible, shouldn't we strive to treat others?

 

Today’s text, the literal translation of Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:12, is as follows: ‘Everything that you want people to do to you, do to them in the same way’ (Park).  What do we really want people to do for us?  When I think of this question, I found the answer in Luke 6:31-32, which is similar to today's text Matthew 7:17 – “Treat others 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.”  In other words, what people want to do to us is that they love us.  Don't you think so?  Don't you want people to love you?  Personally, when I think of “love,” two gospel songs come to mind.  Of course, there is a gospel song  based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  But I especially like the gospel song “You Are Born to be Loved” and the gospel song “For another Fruit”.  When I think of “love”, the reason I especially think of the two gospel songs is that the titles of the songs themselves are a comfort and a challenge to me.  It is a great comfort to me that I was born into this world to receive God's love, and that God's love began from the beginning.  How grateful are you?  The love of God of those who love me, who made me realize how precious I am in the eyes of God.  I am grateful that someone like me is loved by God, and that God wants to convey that love, and that God wants to bear the fruit of love through me.  When we think of God's love for us from the beginning, shouldn't we become channels of the Lord's love and convey that love to others?  Shouldn't we love our neighbor with God's love, as Jesus commanded?  How, then, should we love our neighbor?  I want to meditate on three things, focusing on Luke 6:31-36, which is similar to Matthew 7:12, and receive a lesson from the Bible:

 

First, we must not only love those who love us.

 

Look at Luke 6:32-33: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners love those who love them.  If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners do the same.”  What do you think of these words of Jesus?  Do you not agree with Jesus' words that we love only those who love us, do good only to those who do us good, and sinners do the same?  Don't people in the world who do not believe in Jesus love those who love them and do good to those who do good to them?  Isn't this kind of love everyone can do?  But now, Jesus is telling His disciples not to only love the kind of love that everyone in the world can do.  In other words, Jesus is telling us to love more, more sacrificial love (Radmacher).  I would like to ask a question to our sisters in Christ.  Sisters, if your husband loves you and treats you well, won't you of course love your husband and treat him well too?  But if your husband doesn't love you from your point of view, would you still love your husband?  Would you still be good to him?  Our human love is selfish.  Also, our love is conditional.  But God's love is unselfish.  And God's love is unconditional.  In particular, God's love is sacrificial.  In other words, God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die on the cross.  In this way, God's love is sacrificial.  If we knew this God's sacrificial love, we would not only love those who love us. We should not only do good to those who do us good.  Such love and good deeds will never be praised by the Lord.

 

Second, we should lend to people without expecting to receive.

         

Look at Luke 6:34 – “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.”  In this age we live in now, when we borrow money (loan) from a bank, we have to pay the bank interest on the amount as well as the amount borrowed.  In fact, when our children or grandchildren go to college or graduate school to study, if the family cannot help them financially, they get a loan from the bank to study.  Then, when they finish their studies, they get a job to pay off the debt.  However, it is not easy to actually repay the debt as interest is charged in addition to the loaned money.  However, in the Old Testament times, Jews did not charge interest on loans.  This is because the Old Testament forbade paying interest.  Look at Leviticus 25:35-37: “Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.  Do not take usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your countryman may live with you.  You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain.”  And the Jewish law required all debts to be forgiven in the seventh year (cf. Deut. 15:9) (probably now I know that the money we loaned to the bank becomes null and void when we die).  So, for many Jewish creditors, lending money to financially struggling Jews as the seventh year approached was a loss of their investment.  So they didn't lend.  The reason is that you cannot get back what you borrowed.  As a result, the farmers who live on small farms were inevitably hit hard.  At that time, the Jewish teachers allowed the poor to borrow to avoid this law.  But the condition was that they could borrow from Jewish creditors when they could repay what they borrowed.  Jesus, who knew this, said to his disciples, “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” (Lk. 6:34).  In other words, when those who have have lend to those who do not have, lend rather than expect to receive.  This is the lesson to lend even if you lose the money because you do not receive the money you borrowed (Keener).  Compare this teaching of Jesus with the teachings of the Old Testament.  See, for example, the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 15:7-9: “If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.  Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, 'The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,' and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you.”  The Mosaic Law tells us to lend generously to our poor brother for what he needs.  It tells us not to have evil thoughts in our hearts that give us nothing because the seventh year of exemption is near.  In fact, in Luke 6:35 Jesus is teaching his disciples to love them more than the Old Testament tells them to do: “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 men.”  If we look again at Matthew 5:43-44, which we have already meditated on, Jesus is saying to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  This is what the Pharisees inherited in the Old Testament, Leviticus 19:18, in the words of God, “love your neighbor,” and ‘hate your enemies,’ with their incorrect idea of ‘hate your enemies.’  So Jesus has now corrected it.  Jesus taught us to love our enemies and pray for them.  This is the essence of love (Park).  Jesus, who taught us the essence of this love, is speaking more specifically about love for our enemies here in Luke 6:35.  The point of those words is to love and do good even to your enemies, but lend without expecting anything from them.  How would you respond to this lesson of Jesus, telling us not to be poor and to lend money without expecting anything from our enemies?  Why is Jesus telling us to love even our enemies and be good to them, and lend them without expecting from them?  The reason is because our God is kind to the ungrateful and the evil men (v. 35).  In other words, since we are children of God, who is kind to the ungrateful and the evil men, we should love and do good even to our enemies and lend with words, hoping for nothing.  In doing so, Jesus promises that our reward will be great, and we will become sons of the Most High God.

 

Third and last, we must be merciful.  In other words, we must show mercy.

 

Look at Luke 6:36 – “"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”  When we think of Jesus' teaching that we should have mercy on our neighbors, we should meditate on the story of the good Samaria in Luke 10.  The reason Jesus told this story was when a certain lawyer (Lk. 10:25) asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (v. 29), Jesus said the true neighbor to a man who met robbers was neither a priest nor a Levite, but the good Samaritan who had mercy on him (vv. 33-37).  Listen to Jesus' question and the lawyer's answer: “’Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?’  And he said, ‘The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same’” (vv.36-37).  Luke 6:36 we read today is similar to Matthew 5:48 – “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Isn't it interesting?  In Matthew 5, Matthew talks about the love that Jesus taught, and after writing down Jesus’ instruction to love even our enemies, he concludes in verse 48, saying, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.”  Isn't it interesting that in Luke 6:36, Luke tells the lesson of Jesus' love for enemies, and then in verse 36 he says, "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful"?  When we meditate on these two verses together, we cannot help but think that our Heavenly Father's perfection and mercy are connected.  In other words, our Father in heaven loved us as our enemies with perfect love and showed us mercy.  Look at Romans 5:10 – “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”  The God of heaven loved us and had mercy on us until, when we were enemies with God, He gave up His Son, Jesus, on the cross for our salvation.  Therefore, as children of our Heavenly Father, we are to be merciful to our enemies, even as our father.  This is an expression of the perfect love of our Heavenly Father.

 

There is a proverb among the Jews: ‘Hospitality to a stranger is a greater thing than to show the reverence of the name of God’ (Internet).  This means that hospitality was very important to the Jews.  Doesn't the sound of church bells calling us to prayer and worship sound very familiar to our ears?  In the same way, the sound of the doorbell on our front door should actually feel familiar to our ears.  Hospitality is a way of connecting the flow of charity that begins with God to continue through us to others.  As soon as gratitude disappears from our hearts, this holy flow stops there.  When we welcome and treat people with kindness and respect, the gifts of life flow back into the world and eventually return to their original source.  God's love must flow constantly and flow into the world through the flow of giving in our daily lives.  We must keep that gift flowing to others.  The lesson we received from Jesus today – ‘Whatever you would like people to do to you, do to them likewise’ – what will you do now?  We should love our neighbor as we all want to be loved.  Not only should we love those who love us, but we should also love and do good to those who hate us with God's love.  Let’s not expect to receive.  But let’s love to give and show mercy.  I hope and pray that you and I will shine the love of the Lord into the world.