December 21, 2010

To Live is Christ — Do Unto Others . . .

Those of us who like straight talk can be a pain to those who mince words, veil intentions, or hide behind platitudes. However, as painful as straight talk can be, I’m glad that the Bible has many passages and verses that are like an arrow. Nothing could be plainer that this translation from The Message. 
Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. (1 Peter 3:8–9, The Message)
My role as a Christian and child of God is to bless others. The word “bless” can mean “cause to prosper, make happy, or speak well of.” It refers to the kind of treatment everyone wants from others. I am delighted with those who help me in my efforts to do well. I am overjoyed with those who are concerned for my happiness and say good things about me. I’m to do the same, just as said in the famous Golden Rule.
And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. (Luke 6:31–33)
Loving lovely people is relatively easy. As Jesus says here, anyone can do it. However, Peter wasn’t talking about loving nice people. These verses, in a more literal translation, say:
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:8–9)
Nice people are not into “evil and reviling.” Nevertheless, God’s Word says to be loving, compassionate and tenderhearted toward them, and at the very least, be courteous. When those who are bent on being malicious mistreat me, I’m to bless them . . . cause them to prosper, make them happy, and speak well of them.

Just in case anyone thinks that being a Christian is easy. . . .

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