As I was driving to work the other morning and scanning through the radio stations, I stumbled upon a station that caught my interest. The radio personalities were chatting about how we should treat others and one of the responses I thought was pretty powerful--- “don’t react to others the way they deserve; rather, treat them befitting who you are.”
This really got me thinking -- to treat others not as they deserve or even how you would like to be treated; rather, treat them as a reflection of YOUR value, YOUR worth, who YOU are … how God treats YOU!
A twist to “The Golden Rule” or the law of reciprocity, which is the principle of treating others as you want to be treated, or not treating others in a way that you wouldn’t want to be treated or even what you wish upon others is what you wish upon yourself.
There are numerous variations of the Golden Rule across dozens of religions and philosophies to include:
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. - Matthew 7:12 (NIV)
Love your neighbor as yourself- Leviticus 19:18
One should not behave towards others in a way, which is disagreeable to oneself- Mencius Vii.A.4
All valuable but, I kindof like this twist of taking things a step further -- of making your actions or reactions a reflection of your own worth! A reflection of how God sees and treats you.
So if you believe yourself to be valuable and you appreciate the blessings, grace and mercies that God bestows on you daily then… shouldn’t it be easy for you to behave towards others in a manner that is befitting one of your stature? Befitting of royalty.
A Biblical woman that modeled the Golden Rule was Rebekah- a woman of both beauty and kindness. Rebekah is considered a prominent matriarch in the Jewish faith as she married Isaac and bore Jacob, who became the ancestral father of Israel.
Yet, Rebekah’s introduction into history comes from a simple act of kindness to a stranger. In fact, she is given the title “rose among thorns” because of this act of kindness that she performed for Abraham’s servant.
The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”
“Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.
After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. - Genesis 24:17-19 (NIV)
When the servant encountered Rebekah at the drinking well, he was tired from his journey and parched with thirst. Rebekah didn't hesitate to not only draw water for this stranger but also water for all of his camels!
Now, this might not seem like such a tremendous act of kindness except, we need to stop and remember what it was like for Rebekah in Biblical times. This act of kindness is nothing short of a super-human feat for such a young girl. She would have had to make DOZENS of trips to the well to provide enough water for the ten camels-which would have been about 140 gallons each!
The strength it would have taken to physically draw-up that much water is impressive!
Not to mention, the fact that she was physically capable of drawing this much water and didn’t hesitate for a minute to offer; demonstrates that this wasn’t the first time she had extended this kindness to others.
This willingness to go the extra mile to be kind to a total stranger is what made her so beautiful- like a rose among thorns.
I love this imagery- Roses and Thorns.
Thorns assert themselves with protruding sharp points that prick anyone that comes near. They keep people away and cause pain.
Yet, the beautiful rose is velvety soft with delicate petals that unfold and provide a gift of beauty and heavenly fragrance. They draw people near and offer a positive exchange.
In a world full of selfishness and self-centeredness; where impatience, irritation and un-forgiveness rein (like thorns) may we choose to be like Rebekah, seeing ourselves of great value and extending kindness to the world (like roses).
It’s not about the actions of the world- it’s about YOURS.
Father, help us to see ourselves as valuable children of the Most High God. Children worthy of royalty- filled with beauty and compassion. May we learn to extend grace, forgiveness, patience and kindness to everyone we meet. May we react to those around us in a manner befitting our station; so that we too would be called “roses among the thorns.”
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12 (NIV)