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Treating Others like Christ

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

by Dr. Paul Chappell

"My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well."

James 2:1-8

The only fact that should matter in how we treat people is the fact that God made them.

It was a stormy night in England in the mid of winter. A common lady was sitting down to eat in her home that night when a knock came at the door. A tall woman stood in a large overcoat and hat stood at the door, and said, "It has begun to rain, and I was wondering if I could borrow an umbrella of yours? I promise I'll return it." "Sure just a minute," the lady replied. She hurried to the back where she kept her umbrella. She had recently purchased a new umbrella and had saved the old one, meaning to either throw it away or give it away. She debated on which one to give the woman. She reasoned that since she had been meaning to get rid of the older one anyway, she could simply give it to the lady in the doorway. She grabbed the old, worn umbrella that was missing a few pieces, and gave it to the lady. The woman thanked her and was on her way. A few days later, the palace royal guard visited the common lady's home and returned to her the umbrella she had given the woman. The woman had actually been the queen of England! Shocked and embarrassed, the common lady lamented to the guards, "Oh, if I had only known it was the queen, I would have given her my good umbrella."

Just as this lady lamented "mistreating" the queen, how often do we mistreat Christ? Consider Jesus' words: "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40). Christ tells us that how we treat others is how we treat Him.

Think about this fact: God made man and woman in His image. Everyone on earth, saved or unsaved, are made in the image of God. Also God's love extends to every person, whether they accept His gift or not. He died for them just as much as He died for us who are saved.

We should consider these facts the next time we mistreat someone or look down upon them. Our verses today remind us that God is not a respecter of persons. Popularity, wealth, ability, or talent does not catch God's eye and cause Him to value one person over the other. God loves everyone equally.

Even so, God desires that we love and respect others. While this world has taught us to place value on people who dress nicely, own nice possessions, and are in a position of prominence, God tells us that the only fact that should matter in how we treat people is the fact that God made them.

We naturally mistreat there who mistreated us. But God desires that our actions be loving, no matter how we're treated. That family who always takes your seat in church, the woman who stole your parking spot at the store, the man who cut you off on the freeway, or the neighbor who throws trash on your lawn are all God's creation. How someone treats you shouldn't dictate how you treat them.

How do you treat others? Do you sometimes look down on people or mistreat them? Do you respect some people over others? Those people you mistreat are people God formed with His hands, and for whom He sent His Son to die on the Cross. The next time you are tempted to look down on someone or retaliate to mistreatment, remember God's words, "How you treat others is how you are treating Me."

To learn more about the ministries of Lancaster Baptist Church and Pastor Chappell, please visit lancasterbaptist.org, paulchappell.com, or follow him on twitter.

Daily Bible Reading
Jeremiah 15-17 | II Timothy 2