Pastor Timothy Fortune
Columbus Baptist Church
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “treat?”
Perhaps you think of a delicious dessert or some little delicacy that will tickle the taste buds. Maybe you think of a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing, or possibly a slice of strawberry cake with a dollop of whipped cream and a splash of chocolate syrup or how about some fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.
Yum, they all sound wonderful!
Treats, like these desserts, are extras. Such scrumptious sweets are not required nor are they necessary but from time to time it sure is nice to have a tasty treat.
The word treat also can denote behavior. That is, how do we act towards people, how do we handle or deal with issues involving others?
For example, do we treat others with respect or with rudeness? Are we nice to people or are we a nuisance to them? Do we treat individuals beyond what is required, like a “treat”, or are our actions just run of the mill and nothing extraordinary?
For those who are disciples of Christ, there is a standard by which we are to treat others. Jesus clearly defines this standard for us. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” This is the golden rule that describes how Christians are to interact with people. Followers of Jesus are to treat others in the same manner they want to be treated.
This begs the questions, “How do you like to be treated?”
Do you like people to be hateful towards you, yell at you, or completely ignore you? Or, do you find joy and pleasure when others are complementary towards you, esteem you and treat you with value, dignity and importance? I would venture to say we prefer the latter over the former. If this is our preference and we desire for others to treat us as such, then Jesus instructs us that our actions and behavior towards other people are to be along those same lines.
The “golden rule” was not only something Jesus taught; it was a way of life for the Lord. Jesus set the bar when it comes to behavior towards others.
Think of how Jesus treated the lady who was caught in an act of immorality? Jesus did not treat her as those who brought her into the temple court. She was treated by them in a harsh manner. The religious folks passed judgement upon her, found her guilty and were ready to be her executioners. This lady was guilty of what she had been accused and there was no denying this fact. The Lord’s actions toward this lady were in stark contrast to those who brought her into the temple. Jesus defended her, gave mercy and showed her considerable kindness.
During the end of the Last Supper, the Apostle Peter made a bold statement that he would lay down his life for Jesus. Later on that night, when Jesus was arrested in the garden, Peter, along with the other disciples, abandoned Jesus. Shortly after Jesus was arrested, Peter was confronted three times about being a follower of Jesus. All three times, Peter denied he even knew Jesus.
After the Lord resurrects from the dead, Jesus has a conversation with Peter. In that conversation Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved the Lord. Three times Peter expressed his love to Jesus. After each expression of love by Peter, Jesus instructed Peter to feed His sheep and to follow Him.
Nowhere in Scripture do we read of a conversation where Jesus spoke harshly toward Peter for how he denied the Lord. Jesus did not treat Peter on the same level of the actions Peter displayed. Jesus lived the golden rule, even to those who denied Him.
As disciples of Jesus, it should be our aim to follow the example shown to us by our Lord. Our actions and behavior towards others should be of the highest standard. How we treat others should not be based upon how they treat us because others are not always going to be good to you. People will disrespect you, be rude to you and possibly even curse you. I have even had someone spit in my face. Now that is a hard situation to handle. Yet, despite how others treat us, we are called by Jesus to not retaliate in like manner. Instead, we are to treat them like we want to be treated. That is, our actions towards them should be like those scrumptious