Those who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or YouVersion know that I share my daily devotional with my networks. It’s how I square up for what I deal with out in the world. Sometimes these readings tap into some feelings or bring back memories that are not pleasant to mull over and one from last week actually made me angry.
I know that’s a crazy thing to say that something I read in the Bible made me angry, but can we be real for a few minutes here?
The scripture highlighted for this post is a very well known and popular excerpt from the Book of Matthew.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
But this verse has been used far too much to justify or explain away the bad behavior of some people.
Before I go any further, I know it is highly unlikely that most, if any, of my friends fall into the category of selfish, self-serving individuals who refuse to reach out and help others. I am writing this as an encouragement and caution for those who DO serve.
I am not persuaded that God made us to be placed in and held down in abussive relationships. Yes, we may be called on to intercede for people, but this idea that we are supposed to pour all of our energy into people continually in the hope that one day they will reciprocate is unhealthy and enables abusers to cause harm to others.
For those who are called to the very special work of mission, there is a reason that we must study and pray continuously. It is so that we can know who, what, when, where, why and how much/long God wishes us to do in any given situation. I say this a lot because it is true, “Jesus saves. We serve.”
If you are serving others in some capacity and it is taking a toll on you and your health, if you’re tired all the time, if you don’t have time to handle your personal business, pause and get somewhere quiet where you can talk to the Lord because something is out of whack. I am saying this for me as much as anyone reading this I assure you.
I am glad for the opportunity to wrestle with and meditate on this scripture. It helped reveal to me that I am holding onto some resentments from people who I have helped who have not reciprocated with me and I have got to let that go. Those resentments do me great harm. I know that I hold on too long to some things and some people because it hurts to let go of the things and people you care for, but I am not about putting time and energy into something God has told me it’s time to move on from. That is not selfish, that is me recognizing that I need to be timely in my obedience to what God has called me to do.
If you’d like to read the devotional that led to this reflection Inhave included it below.
~Marta C. Youngblood
Excerpt from Joyce Meyer: Promises For Your Everyday Life
I’m sure we lose a lot of blessings we never even know about simply because we fail to do for others what we would like to have done for us. We always want to be blessed by others, but do we take the initiative to unselfishly bless them first?
If your marriage, family, or friendships aren’t what you would like them to be, you could literally turn them around by adopting this one principle right now.
You may have been waiting for your spouse to do something for you. Maybe you have even been stubbornly refusing to help a friend because you want them to help you first. Living this way can be selfishly comfortable, but things will never change until you decide to actively change them. It’s time to swallow your pride and save your relationships.
Instead of sitting around, focusing on yourself, waiting for blessings to come your way, it’s time to actively make sacrifices and serve the people God has placed in your life. Be a servant and make others the focus.
Instead of feeling rejected and ignored, you’ll be amazed at how your relationships improve when you treat others the way you want to be treated.
God, I have nothing to gain by living a selfish life. Instead of waiting for people to be good to me, I’m going to be good to them first, treating them the way I want to be treated.