Summary: How do we respond to people who don't look, act or think like me?
Title: Doing Unto Others Who Don’t Look, Act or Think Like Me…
Text: Matthew 7:12
Purpose: Message about getting along with others (Golden Rule)
• Past Monday, 1/21/13 was President Obama’s Inauguration
• Many times in famous speeches, there are memorable quotes
- JFK: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.”
- FDR: “All we have to fear, is fear itself”
- Pres. Reagan to Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall….”
If you were looking for a verse that somewhat summarized the teaching of Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount to this point it would be the verse Matt 7:12
TEXT: Matthew 7:12
12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”
1. We’ve come through the political season, and there are very clearly two sides to this issue.
2. Next week, the Super Bowl will be between Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49’ers, and there will be two sides.
3. Even in religious world, there are many sides, theologically, stylistically, socially
Question: What things do they say never to talk about when you are in a social gathering?
Why? Because people hold very deep and sensitive opinions on both. And you are likely to get into a discussion that you may or may not agree with.
Question: Can people who may disagree on religion and/or politics, to name a few, get along?
• It’s one thing to think you’re in the majority of opinion, but what if you’re in the minority? Are you a bad person/ Do you still belong?
• Have you ever felt like that in a situation?
• How did Jesus handle the situation?
• Passage falls between 7:1-6 where Jesus teaches on being discerning without being judgmental
• Verse 7-11 talking about effective praying
• Followed by verses beginning in v. 13 about making a decision to follow Christ.
• Right in the middle Jesus talks to us about ethics and personal relationships.
Question: How do you get along with other people, not like you?
- They don’t look like you, talk like you, think like you?
Now it’s interesting to note that this passage usually had been quoted for years in history, philosophy, and even religiously from the negative stand point.
NEGATIVE: “I won’t do to others, what I don’t desire them to do to me. Live and let live. You leave me alone and I will leave you alone.”
• From this standpoint, it tells me to refrain; it involves nothing more than NOT doing certain things, which is not that difficult.
• A person could satisfy the negative form by simple inaction
• But this negative form stems from a selfish attitude
• Defined this way, it’s as far as the sinful man can go
• It essentially is an expression not of love, but of self-interest.
• The motivation basically is selfish, refraining from harming others in order that they will not harm me.
So rather than risk something, I’m going to do nothing. That way it doesn’t require anything from me. So we set up these little defense mechanisms. “You don’t mess with me, I won’t mess with you.” That way the default and responsibility is on the other person. Then if they do something, I can react or retaliate. Then it’s not my fault.
And that was the prevailing thinking up to this point. But then came along Jesus. And like so many times in the Sermon on the Mount, he changes it. He gives us something new.
• He frames this principle not from the negative side, requiring nothing from me, but to the POSITIVE side, which requires me to respond in love.
Jesus says, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you”
It’s more than just treating others as the law allows, but rather we must treat them as love demands.
Jesus said in John 13:34-35 “34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
You and I are going to be judged by the same yardstick we apply to others. If we see good in others, nearly everyone will see good in us.
How we treat others is not to be determined by how we expect them to treat us or by how we think they should treat us, but by how we want them to treat us.
Illustration: For years, the basic instrument was the harpsichord. Keys were depressed; a giving string is plucked, much like a guitar. But the tone it makes in that way is not pure, and the mechanism is relatively slow and limiting.