How Should I Respond? :: by Grant Phillips

Jesus said “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 – NASB) Don’t you sometimes wish He didn’t say “In everything”? I’m kidding, but the fact is, He left us no loop holes to crawl through. He said that to treat others the way we would like for them to treat us is actually the essence of the Law and the Prophets.

There are several factors that can cause us to violate this command; pride, arrogance, rudeness, selfishness, impatience, stubbornness, immaturity, egotism, and the list goes on. It isn’t always easy, but yet, it is a command of our Lord. If you think about it though, it just makes good sense, even if Jesus had not commanded it. Just think of all the other problems that could be avoided. Why the list could go from avoiding a minor argument to murder, and a very lengthy string of sins in between.

Let’s admit it. We have all failed at this from time to time, but I believe the closer we get to actually living this command, the greater our maturity. Why? Because this is how Jesus would react in every single instance when dealing with people. But you say, “Jesus exploded on the scribes and Pharisees. Just read Matthew 23. And what about running the money changers out of the temple?” There are four issues to consider here; (1) we are not Jesus, (2) at this point in His ministry, this is exactly what He needed to do, (3) the incidents were handled in a very Godly manner, and (4) He usually addressed the group, not the individual (I’ll come back to this). There are times that we too may need to retaliate, but let us make sure that it is the right thing to do and it is done in a Godly manner. By and large though, we should always let the above command of Jesus guide our actions.

Previously stated in the third paragraph of this article was a fourth item concerning Jesus when He spoke to the scribes and Pharisees and then cleansed the temple, and that was “He usually addressed the group, not the individual”. When addressing a group of people, whether via printed page, or the pulpit you can say things that you would not say to an individual. When addressing a group, an admonition should not be taken personally, because it is addressed to no one person. The seed is cast out over the field, to grow where it falls. However, that should not normally be done face to face (one on one) because it is addressed to that one person you are communicating with. It then gets very personal.

I made a decision years ago not to argue over anything related to God or His Word. On the contrary, I enjoy sharing “opinions” with another brother and/or sister in Christ who will treat me the same way they would like for me to treat them, and I of course reciprocate, and listen intently to what they have to say. In a very few instances though, some obviously suffer from  the previous maladies already mentioned. When people make “smart remarks” to you … one on one or otherwise, they do not have the Spirit of Christ working in their lives. If they are a child of God, they need to grow up. They are so full of themselves, they have no room for Christ. Oh they mention His name, but with what attitude?

Then there are those who obviously do not know Jesus as their own personal Savior. All I, or any other Christian can do, is pray for them. Satan has blinded their eyes, and they desperately need prayer, that the scales be removed.

I find it interesting that Jesus gave us the command to treat others as we would have them treat us when He was talking about prayer. Even more interesting is that He was speaking about judging others in the verses prior to talking about prayer. And again, isn’t it interesting that after the command on how to treat others, He was speaking about “two ways” and “contrasting fruit”? It appears to me that if we want our prayers answered, we had better watch how we treat other people, and if we are not treating other people as Jesus would have us, we may not be on the right road, producing righteous fruit.

Jesus’ ministry is all about people. “People” is why He came and died, was buried, and rose again. “People” is why He has provided a way to the Father through Him. “People” is why He left each of His own the Comforter until He returns. “People” is why He is preparing a home in Heaven for His own. If we do not treat “people” with respect, then (1) we as a Christian need to ask forgiveness and change our attitude toward others, or (2) we need to come to the cross for forgiveness and salvation in Jesus Christ.

I find it a great pleasure to be meeting people from all over the world through the internet. It is hard for me to find time to reply, but I try to do so. I have met some wonderful people.

Any Christian’s ministry should be about two things; first to glorify Jesus, and secondly to love people and tell them about Jesus. It is surprising how getting our eyes off ourselves causes us to see people in a different light. Could that be because we are then seeing people from Jesus’ viewpoint? We are no longer that obnoxious know-it-all, who cares more about our being right, than the feelings of the person we are addressing, one on one. None of us, as Christians, are perfect. We have all failed in this area, and we will probably fail again, but could we not, at

least, stop and think before we open our mouth (or type those words) to the individual we are speaking to, one on one? Even to the crowd, should we not choose our words carefully? It is one thing to tell the truth that may even hurt, but totally another to purposely try to inflict harm on others with words.

There was a saying when I was growing up as a child, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me.” I’m sure that many of you have heard that. Is it true? No, it is not true. Words can hurt and cause deep repercussions. Just ask a spouse who has been verbally abused. Just ask a person who was told as a child how worthless they were. Words do hurt. Even a look can cause a smile, or a tear. How do you treat others? How do you treat your own “loved” ones?

When you go out to eat, how do you treat the server? Several severs have told my wife and I that they hate to see the church crowd roll in after church on Sunday, because they are so rude and demanding. Now keep in mind, they just came from their church gathering, supposedly worshipping the same Jesus who said to treat others as we would want them to treat us. Is that treating others the way we would want them to treat us?

How do you treat your customers at work? Do you make them feel welcome? Do you smile? I have seen employees who won’t even look at you, let alone smile, or even speak. Is this how Christ told a Christian to act toward others?

We Christians need to remember that we are supposed to be a light to the world around us. (Matthew 5:16) Are we? By the way, I continuously keep in mind that if my index finger is pointing at you, there are three other fingers and a thumb pointing back at me.

The Lord says by the Apostle John, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” (1 John 4:7-8, 11)

Yet some who say they are Christians step all over others, while trying to exalt themselves and claim they are God’s spokesman.

Some get quite hostile in their hatred for Israel, the apple of God’s eye.

Some are so antagonistic and selfish, it highly offends them that someone might get a “second chance” (that’s what they call it anyway) during the Tribulation to accept Jesus as their Savior.

Others seem to be angry and hostile toward anyone who does not read only the Bible translation they demand that you read.

I would like to parenthetically state a few words about this translation. I have used the Kings James Version (KJV) of the Bible all my life, and believe me, that goes way back. I have always loved it, and still do. I still use it, but I also use other versions. Some are better, in particular the New American Standard Bible (NASB). Some are not. David Reagan currently has an excellent series of articles in his Lamplighter magazine for the May/June 2011 issue. His website is if you would like to read the articles in his magazine. He states at the very end of the articles the following, “The King James Versionwas a great Bible for its day and time. It has served the English speaking peoples well for several centuries. The time has come to lay it to rest with honor and dignity and with heart-felt thanks. It has stamped our language indelibly. It has inspired many generations. Most important, it has opened the door to God for millions of people by delivering them from spiritual darkness into the light of the glory of Jesus Christ.” I wholeheartedly concur. Too many people have been driven away from reading God’s precious Word, because some insist they read a version that they simply cannot understand, so they just don’t read it at all.

Some are quite hostile if you do not believe the way they do concerning end time events.

The most important thing, is have you come to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and trusted in Him for the salvation of your soul? Do you walk with Him?

Why so much anger, when it is in total conflict with our leading verse, Matthew 7:12 and also 1 John 4:7-8, 11? Something here is not computing. I am really concerned for the spiritual welfare of any who would fit this scenario.

I have been a Christian for many years, and it saddens me to say that more often than not, non-Christian folks have treated me better than those who claim to be Christians. Christians can be like little children on a playground fighting over a toy or making fun of another child. Allow me to make it even clearer. They can be very mean. How can this be of God? It cannot! As the moon reflects the sun’s light on a dark night, we should reflect the Son’s light in a dark world, and especially to each other.

Enough said. Now let us challenge ourselves with this verse, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”


Grant Phillips

Pre-Rapture Commentary