In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to
treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets
Matthew 7:12 NASB

by Mitzi Neely
Guest Contributor

All my life I’ve grown up believing in and living the ‘Golden Rule.’ When I think about God’s word in Matthew 7:12, In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets, I am reminded to show the kind of love to others that God shows me every day.

I haven’t always been the recipient of someone else’s love. In fact, there was a time when
someone put me through a grueling test of love, grace, and forgiveness. After a few days of sadness and grieving over the hurt and betrayal I felt, I turned to Scripture and a godly friend to help me find my way through this situation.

I’ll never know why this ‘friend’ chose to unleash her personal unhappiness upon me while sitting in a graduate class surrounded by other professionals, but it happened. And to top it all off- I never saw it coming.

Our class had taken a break when she unloaded on me. Terrible, terrible words that were personal and hurtful. The kind of words that haunt you when you hear the old adage, ‘Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.’ Believe me, her words hurt all the way to my core.

As quickly as possible I left class, found the nearest restroom and sobbed. I didn’t know what I had done to deserve this kind of treatment, but I knew I had to clean my face, return to class,
and ride home in the same vehicle with her. Needless to say, there were no words exchanged during the 40 minute drive.

While I was stunned beyond comprehension, there would be no getting even with her or
retaliating against her.

Instead, I took a completely different approach to what had happened and learned a lesson from that evening. I learned that as difficult as the experience had been, I would give her unconditional love and forgiveness, no matter what. No matter the heart breaking words or the actions she displayed. No matter the shock and numbness I felt in the aftermath. No matter.

I have thanked God over and over again for the protection He provided me that day. It was my focus on Him that kept me from lashing out at her and doing even more damage.

You see when we follow God our thoughts and actions need to demonstrate our love for Him and our love for others.

This woman wasn’t my sister or a trusted friend, or even my next door neighbor. But she was a colleague and a child of God, who did not deserve the same behavior in return. We all make mistakes that threaten how we love and care for others.

I allowed God’s word to calm my heart and set me on the path to truth and freedom that was both comforting and affirming. In the days that followed I gained freedom from the harsh words, the disappointing behavior, and the jealousy that fills a person’s heart when they let the prince of darkness sneak in through the cracks.

The most important one, answered Jesus, is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.
Mark 12:29-31 NIV

Living the way He wants us to live is a decision we must make. One of the things I’ve learned through studying Scripture is that God’s laws are not burdensome and the Bible tells me so. In Mark 12:29-31 there are two simple principles for all of us to live by: we are to love God and
love others.

There it is. We are to give to others what God gives to us. To love your neighbor as yourself
proves that our hearts, mind, soul and strength are transformed by His love.

Our love for God is expressed by loving others

When we fully love God with our whole being and care for others as we care for ourselves then we fulfill the intent of the Ten Commandments and God’s Laws in the Old Testament.
And that’s the best kind of love ever.

Our dear Heavenly Father, I come to you today with love in my heart and hope for a better tomorrow. I pray for redemption as I make mistakes and seek forgiveness. Father, I look to You to work in me and create a heart, mind, and soul that adores You and worships You. Thank you for commanding us to fully love others as You love us. Your Word tells us there is no commandment greater than these. In Your Precious Name I pray, Amen.

STUDY QUESTIONS

1. What does Scripture say our response should be when someone hurts us deeply?

 2. Sometimes we believe we don’t have much to offer, but God’s Word tells us we do. How do you show the fullness of God’s love to others, even in times of difficulty or distress?

 3. As a Christian, what does it mean to live out God’s love?

_________________________

Mitzi Neely is the author of A Thankful Heart~30 Days to the Grateful Life, and an inspiring motivational speaker who encourages women of all ages through her experiences and shortcomings. She has been blessed with a passion and love for people that stretches across the generations. Her heart is to lighten your load, while conveying her message that nobody’s perfect.

So often God places certain people in your life at just the right moment; whether the reason is to help teach you, help you grow in your walk with Him, or to simply love and lift up others. Whatever your struggle or need, you will find encouragement through her words as she refreshes your heart and renews your joy. Follow Mitzi at www.peacefullyimperfect.net

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Written by Mitzi Neely

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