In the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey is afforded the opportunity to see what the world would like if he had never been born. As he moves about Bedford Falls, he learns how different everything is. His guardian angel, Clarence, points out, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
Every day… every single day, we face choices as to how we treat those around us. Whether we realize those choices or not, and even if we do not even know the people we are affecting, those decisions and actions have impact on others. Whether you are at home with your family, at work with those you share your career with, or just those you pass in public, at the grocery store, at the coffee shop getting your favorite coffee, at the gym, the library, or anywhere else your day may take you. You will interact with others in a variety of ways.
So how do you treat others? And if there is no direct interaction, how do you present yourself?
Jesus said in Luke 6:31(NIV) that famous verse:
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
It is a simple but profound statement that has permeated the roots of most if not all morals and religions in the world in some form or fashion. No one anywhere debates the wisdom this. It is taught to our children from a very early age and has been given the simple title of The Golden Rule. But, as easy as it sounds, so many of us have a hard time practicing this.
If this was truly practiced, the word revenge would not be in our vocabulary. Wars would be significantly lessened if not extinct. Politician Ron Paul once said, “Maybe we ought to consider a Golden Rule in foreign policy: Don’t do to other nations what we don’t want happening to us. We endlessly bomb these countries and then we wonder why they get upset with us?”
In Romans 12:16 (NIV), we read
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
and in Philippians 2:4 (ESV)
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
and finally we read Philippians 2:3 (ESV)
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
I find it somewhat amazing that we have the Ten Commandments, and Jesus simplifies that down to two in Mark 12:28-31:
…you shall 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: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
and that this should be all we need to carry out the task of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. But yet, Paul gives us a number of verses that reinforce how to do that. And to this day, we listen to sermons, Bible Studies, and so forth on the subject because we struggle so much with this. Unfortunately, as long as we are human, we will have this issue! But let us strive to be more like Christ each day and to love our neighbors, and to truly do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Then we exude Christ to those around us.
If we are ever given a chance to what the world would be like without us, may we see a great difference in our world. We should recognize the evidence of what our lives have added by having Christ shine through us to those around us. We, as believers, are all ministers for Christ. Therefore, live every day… every day… so that your life’s legacy is told in the lives of others around you.