Sunday, January 27, 2019

Hmmm...what could I do for you?

Most of the time we don't need the grandiose teaching, nor the higher education principles, to just know what is right for us to do - we just need to do what we know! There is a lot of emphasis on getting the 'best teaching', most 'profound advice', and 'latest understanding', but truth be told, there isn't a lot of 'new stuff' out there, my friends! Truth is truth and it always has been. Truth will be truth, now and forever - period. What we need more than anything else isn't 'new' - it has been there all along - it is simple, good, and essential for 'solid' living. The simple solution may not always be thought of as the 'best' solution to any issue, but it can be surprising how much the 'simple' is really the best!

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. (Matthew 7:12 MSG)

A simple guide for our behavior - man, oh, man, don't we need something that will help us guide our thoughts, attitude, and actions? A simple guide - a rule-of-thumb guide for our behavior - where could we find this? Actually, we already have that 'guide' to behavior 'built-in'. We 'want' certain actions 'done for' or 'done to' us. We 'want' certain attitudes to be betrayed behind those actions. We 'want' the basis of those actions and attitudes to be grounded in the 'thought patterns't that evoke those actions and attitudes from deep within. What we 'want' is for others to do certain things 'for' us in ways that will meet our 'needs'. Maybe we should be asking what those 'wants' betray about how we might just want to treat others.

Oftentimes, what we desire to receive from others is exactly what we need to be 'giving out' ourselves. We desire to be listened to - so in order to be heard, we need to hear others. We desire to be respected for our contribution to a certain project - so maybe we need to see just how another also contributes to the outcome regardless of how small or great their contribution will be. We desire to have the ability to change our minds from time to time - so perhaps we need to cut another a little slack when their actions indicate they have had a change of mind on occasion. There is much truth in this simple passage - when we begin to ask what it is we want others to extend to us, then we understand what it is others probably are just as desirous of having extended to them!

Lest I sound a little 'too preachy' here, let me be the first to admit I sometimes know exactly what I want others to do for me, but I don't want to do the same for them. Why is that? If I were to be entirely honest here, I'd have to admit that sometimes I don't see beyond myself - I want it to be all about me. I see no further than the end of my nose - that very same focus is what actually leads to me being critical of others! Rather than seeing beyond my own nose, I focus on me, me, and yet again, me. There isn't a whole lot of room for this kind of focus in God's kingdom, though. So, just as I have to look beyond just myself, we all need to see those things we need and want are probably the exact things another needs and wants (maybe in a slightly different 'package' - but the root of their need is pretty close to the same as ours), I guess we all could do this a little better from time to time.

See in yourself what it is you want another to do - then ask yourself how it is you could do that very same thing for another. You might just be surprised at how much more rewarding it is to do it for another than always asking for it to be done for you! Just sayin!

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