I was driving to work the other morning and stumbled upon a station that caught my interest. The radio personalities were chatting about how we should treat others - one response stopped me in my tracks: “Don’t react to others the way they deserve; rather, treat them befitting who you are.”
Treat others not as they deserve or even how you would like to be treated; instead, treat them as a reflection of YOUR VALUE, YOUR WORTH, … how GOD SEES & TREATS YOU!
A twist on “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.
There are many variations of the Golden Rule across different religions and philosophies to include:
Christianity: “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)
Judaism: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”- Leviticus 19:18
Hinduism: “One should not behave towards others in a way, which is disagreeable to oneself.”- Mencius Vii.A.4
All valuable instructions, but I rather like this twist of taking things a step further -- of making your actions or reactions a reflection of your worth! A reflection of how God sees and treats you.
Therefore, if you believe yourself to be valuable and you appreciate the blessings, grace, and mercies that God bestows on you then-shouldn't it be easy for you to behave towards others in a manner that is befitting one of your status of royalty?
A Biblical woman that modeled this principle was Rebekah- a woman of both beauty and kindness. Rebekah's introduction to history comes from a simple act of kindness to a stranger. An act that earns her the title of "rose among thorns" because of her generosity extended to 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 draw water for not only 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 consider what it was like for Rebekah in Biblical times. This act of kindness is nothing short of a super-human feat for a young girl. She would have had to make DOZENS of trips to the well to provide enough water for ten camels-which would have been about 140 gallons each!
TALK ABOUT ABOVE AND BEYOND!
Her willingness to go the extra mile for a total stranger is what made her so beautiful- like a rose among the thorns.
I love this imagery of roses & thorns.
Thorns assert themselves with protruding sharp points and keep people away or cause pain. In contrast, the rose flower is velvety with delicate petals that unfold and provide a gift of beauty and heavenly fragrance. Roses draw people near and offer a pleasing exchange.
In a world full of selfishness; where impatience and irritation rein (like thorns) may we choose to be like Rebekah, seeing ourselves of great royal value and extend kindness to the world (like roses.)
Be a rose among the thorns.
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)