Friday, February 20, 2015

Treating Others Fairly

Chuckle:  When his doctor entered the room, the man cried, “My hair is falling out!  Can you give me something to keep it in?”  “Of course,” said the doctor reassuringly.  He handed the man a small box.  “Will this be big enough?”
Quote:  “Put yourself in his place!”  --Charles Reade
    “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”  (Matthew 7:1 NIV).
A favorite pastime for some of us seems to be finding faults in others.  We are warned in Scripture to be careful that we aren’t guilty of the same sins/faults that we enjoy pointing out in others.  Jesus tells us to remove the plank from our own eye before we become concerned about the speck of sawdust in our brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3 NIV).  Here’s a story about Charles Reade, the author of our quote for today.
These words, the title of one of Charles Reade’s novels, have remained in my memory for more than half a century.  The story tells of an English village at a time when workers believed that the introduction of labor-saving machines meant taking bread out of the mouths of their wives and children.  Living in this community was Dr. Amboyne.  He was a wise physician who tended alike to mill owner and mill worker, to the mind as well as the body.  And whenever he found one man denouncing another, he always asked the same question:  “What would you do if you were in his place?”  --Josephus Daniels 
It’s easy for us to criticize the words or actions of someone else; and we often do so without understanding the circumstances confronting the person we are criticizing.  When we find ourselves denouncing another person, for whatever reason, we should stop and ask ourselves this question. “What would I do if I were in his or her place?”  This question then brings us face to face with another important question:  What caused this person to act the way he or she did?  What pressures are being brought to bear on that person?  We should reserve judgment until we have walked in that person’s shoes, so to speak – until we better understand what the person is going through.
We know that Jesus always dealt with sinful behavior in a loving and redemptive way, never in a condemning way.  If we truly care about people and are interested in ministering to them, we will take the time to build relationships and share Christ with them.  For wayward Christians, kind, loving and encouraging words and actions are more effective than harsh criticism and condemnation.  Such an approach will help us live out the spirit of the Golden Rule.  We will relate to others as we want them to relate to us. 
Love, Jerry & Dotse    


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