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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - How To Treat One Another

Charles Stanley - How To Treat One Another

Charles Stanley - How To Treat One Another
TOPICS: Relationship

I'd like for you to answer this question with one word. Listen carefully, what is life all about? How would you answer that? What's life all about? Life is all about relationships, relationships with your family, your friends, your coworkers, relationships with yourself, relationships with strangers though it may be brief, relationship with God. Life is all about relationships because, you see, if you take relationships out of your life, what do you have? The only thing you have is things that are material, secular, and really meaningless without relationships. Because without relationships how can you enjoy anything in life? Relationships are very, very important. In fact, they affect every single area of our life. They really determine whether you're happy or unhappy. They determine whether you have real peace or not.

Relationships are essential in business, in your family, relationships to your children. In every aspect of your life, relationships are very important. How would you judge your relationships with your husband or your wife, with your children, with your parents, with your friends, with your coworkers? How do you relate to people that you meet for the first time? You may have a very brief momentary meeting, but what kind of relationship do you have at that moment? Oftentimes we think these are things we can just take for granted, but not really. We have to learn how to do it. And Jesus gave us the basis of strong relationships in one single verse of Scripture, in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter seven, verse twelve. A verse of Scripture that many people will say, "Oh, I know that verse of Scripture".

Well, you know what? Knowing how to quote a verse and knowing how to practice a verse is two different things. And oftentimes we can quote a verse, we know a verse by heart, and we know what it says, at least we think we do. And therefore, because we can quote it, we think we practice it, not necessarily. Jesus has just begun to talk about prayer and He says, "Ask and it shall be given you and seek and you shall find and knock and it shall be opened," and then He talks about how the Heavenly Father desires to answer our prayers. And when He finishes that, He says in verse twelve, "In everything," watch that, not some things, not most things, "In everything, therefore, treat the people the same way you want them to treat you, this is the Law and the Prophets". Look at that. He says, "Treat people the same way you want them to treat you. This is the law and the prophets".

Somebody says, "Now wait a minute. That's not practical". Would Jesus who is the Son of God tell us to do something that's not practical? No, He would not. Do something we cannot do? No, He would not. And if you'll notice He says in everything, not when it's convenient or not convenient, not at specific times, not at other times. And you'll notice He says treat people. What does He mean? That means everyone. I can't pick and choose and be obedient to God. I can treat this person the way I want them to treat me and that person or this group or that group, but He says in everything treat people, that is everyone, the same way you want them to treat you.

Now, it's very evident that many people who call this the Golden Rule and who know this particular passage by heart and will say to us, "Oh, I know that passage". The truth is they don't practice it. Ask yourself the question: Do you really and truly treat people the way you want to be treated? Well, it's very evident that oftentimes we do not. And I think all of us would have to say at some time or the other in our lives we've rationalized that away and said, "Well, but you don't know how badly they've hurt me. You don't know how they've treated me. If you knew how they had treated me, you would not expect me to treat them the way I want to be treated". It's not a matter of what you and I expect. Jesus, the Son of God, said this is one of His commands. And His command is that you and I treat other people the way we wanna be treated.

Now, let's think about what's involved in that. So, what I wanna do is this. I wanna begin by simply giving you a list of words that really are words or characteristics, character traits, actions that you and I should take if we want to build strong relationships. Now, I'm gonna put 'em on the screen here so you can follow them. And I want to encourage you to jot them down because you can't just listen to this message and walk away and practice it. And besides the fact that it affects your marriage, your relationship to your children, your parents, your friends, your co-workers, God, yourself. This is an extremely important message. Now, when you think about a strong relationship, what would be involved in a strong relationship? So, I wanna give you a list of words, and I want to encourage you to jot them down, write quickly, it'll be worth it.

Number one, a strong relationship's gonna be enjoyable. It's gonna be satisfying. It involves loyalty, one to the other. It certainly involves trusting each other. And certainly, there is a mutual interest between people who have a strong relationship. There's a genuine concern for the other person's welfare, not only today but also for their future. There's a desire to please the other person when you have a strong relationship. You look for ways to please them. You discover ways to please them.

Likewise, there's a sense of truthfulness. You can't build a strong relationship without truthfulness. Lying and deception, manipulation will destroy relationship.

Then there's prayer. If you're gonna build a strong relationship, you pray for one another. You call each other's name before God. You lift up each other's burdens to the Father. You desire the best for one another. You have a strong relationship, you want the best for that other person, whatever that may be.

Likewise, you will protect each other. Protect them when people falsely accuse them. Protect them, for example, physically, if you see harm coming their way. You want to be a protector of someone with whom you have a strong relationship.

Likewise, you're forgiving. We all offend each other at times, we say things we should not say. Sometimes we're insensitive, and what happens? If you have a strong relationship, you're very forgiving. You want to forgive and you certainly want to be forgiven in return.

Likewise, you're an encourager. You have a strong relationship with someone, you want to encourage that person any way you possibly can. You see them down, you see them going through a difficulty or hardship in life, you wanna be there to encourage them either by a phone call or letter, or by person. Putting your arm around them and saying, "Listen, I want you to know that I'm with you in this circumstance". You wanna be supportive. They gonna feel your support. When you have a strong relationship, you're gonna be very supportive of the person with whom you have that relationship.

Likewise, you're gonna be generous, not stingy and tight. You're gonna be looking for ways to say or to do things or to give the other person something that you know would bring them a sense of happiness and joy.

Likewise, you're gonna honor that person. You honor them for who they are. You respect that person. You accept them as who they are, just the way they are. You don't build a relationship to change someone, you respect and honor them as they are. Accepting them as they are, and of course, above everything else, loving that person. You say, "Well, I don't know of anybody I feel that way towards". Well, maybe you ought to start changing.

If you want a strong relationship, listen, can you name any one of these issues, any one of these items that we've mentioned here that you would not want someone to feel that way toward you? Don't you wanna be accepted and loved and supported and loyal and truthful and all the rest? Yes, you do. Do you not want relationships in life that are enjoyable, that are satisfying, that are exciting, that are stimulating, that are motivating? Yes, you do. Well, those things don't come automatically. It doesn't just happen. People get married and they say their vows before the pastor in a church or before someone else. And saying those vows, somewhere along the way they have the idea that's just gonna make it work. That's not gonna make anything work. You have to work at building strong relationships.

And oftentimes with children, people have great difficulty with their children because they don't know how to build a relationship. You think just because you're the mother and father and you have the final word, what you say is the law. But what about building a relationship with your children that they enjoy? They love being with you, they wanna be supportive of you. They wanna tell you the truth. They genuinely care for you. And you see, you look around, you'd see the kind of struggle that people are having. Look, for example, among labor and employees and employers and the strife, the discord, the discussions, the arguments, the deception, the manipulation that goes on, why? They don't know how to build relationships with people that they can enjoy working with. Why do you think our courts are so full, running over on the schedule with lawsuits? We can't get along. We don't know how to treat each other.

If I make a mistake, I admit that and we go on in life. But no, we gotta take people to court and sue them, get everything we possibly can, greed and selfishness and all the rest. And you see, when you don't have a good relationship with someone, selfishness, self-centeredness and pride and greed can enter in very easily. Ask yourself the question: Are you building strong relationships with people? What kind of home life? What kind of nation do we have that we no longer know how to treat each other? Then we wonder why all the strife and all the heartache and the way we mistreat each other and abuse, verbal and sexual and physical abuse and all the rest? What in the world has happened? Jesus made it very clear. He said, "Treat other people the way you want them to treat you". Say, "Well now, I've heard that all of my life".

Well, you may have heard it, but how much of it have you practiced? In fact, do you even understand what it means? Do you understand what it means to treat someone else the way you want them to treat you? And so, it's very evident when we look around, that's not the way people are living. And that's why most homes are in turmoil. Most people in their relationship to their kids having all kinds of difficulty. Why? Jesus gave us in one single verse. The problem is we don't understand the verse. If you'll think about, this is a command and a principle. It is a command, watch this, it is a command that reveals the very heart of God. It is a command, listen, that tells us how God thinks about us. It tells us how God wants you and me to treat one another.

You see, listen carefully. We live in a society that's wrapped up in the triad: me, myself, and I. We've become a selfish and a very self-centered generation of people. We have so much, but we act like we don't have enough because we can't figure out what enough is. And let me just say this. You can't get enough things, material things, or prestige or prominence or popularity or any of the rest, listen, that will atone, that, listen that will even begin to substitute for one great, strong, satisfying, enjoyable relationship. Because you can have all the stuff life has to provide, but if you don't have a loving relationship, you know what? You've missed it. Life isn't about things, life's about relationships. Our relationship to ourselves; relationship to our Heavenly Father; to His Son, Jesus Christ; to the Holy Spirit, relationship to our friends, our family, relationships that are oftentimes very brief, momentary meetings. What kind of relationships do you have?

Now, let's think about this verse for a moment because oftentimes people misinterpret it. Somebody says, "Well, I don't hurt people. I don't lie to people. I don't manipulate people. I don't do this and I don't do that and I don't do the other". That's not even the issue. The issue's not what you don't do. A person who's not even a Christian, who doesn't even know anything about Jesus, who's not even religious would fall in the category of people maybe who do not steal. They don't lie and they don't cheat and they don't commit adultery and they don't do a lot of things. That's not what Jesus said. He said treat them, positive action. Treat them the way you want to be treated. To boast about what you don't do to people is not even the issue. The issue is: How do you treat them? How do you want them to treat you?

And it's very important that we understand what Jesus said in this simple verse. Listen, in everything. That is, in every circumstance, in every situation, how are we to respond to those around us? We're to treat them in the same way we want to be treated, listen, if we were in their circumstance. That is, I am to treat the other person the way I want them to treat me if the situation were reversed and I were them and they were me. How do I want them to treat me? Well now, there's a little catch at this, and I want you to watch this carefully. Because you see, I wonder if you've ever asked yourself the question: How do I wanna treat people? And how do I want people to treat me? Could you even answer that question?

You say, "Well, why is that so important"? I'm gonna show you in a moment why it's extremely important that you know how you want people to treat you. How many words would it take? Would you say, "Well, I think what I would do, I would take your list, I would take this list and I would say, 'Well, I certainly want them to enjoy me, to take pleasure in me, to be loyal to me, trusting me, be interested in me, concerned about me, to be truthful to me, to pray for me, to desire'", on down the list we'd go. Is that what you want? Make a list. You say, "Well now, if I presented that list to my husband or wife, they'd just have a fit". No, you know what they'd probably do? They'd probably say, "Well, now I understand where I failed and you understand where you failed".

What I want you to think about seriously, do you know how you want people to treat you? On your job, how do you want the boss to treat you? How do you want your parents to treat you? Do you want them to say, "Because I said so". That's not what you want them to say. How do you want your friends to treat you? How do you want strangers to treat you when you meet them? We don't think about that until we get in some situation and in the midst of the situation, then we're trying to figure out what our feelings are. Well, let's say if somebody hurts your feelings really badly with something they say. How do you feel? And let's say, for example, that you hurt their feelings. How do you want them to respond? Have you ever just stopped to think: How do I want people to treat me in every aspect of my life?

For example, let's take the lady, the mother, let's take the wife. She cooks this fantastic meal, but she tries two or three things she's never cooked before. And she's given her best and she sits down at the table and big smile, wondering how you're gonna respond, and you say, "What's that"? That is not the right way to respond. Or she comes out and you're going somewhere for the evening and you say, "Are you gonna wear that"? That's not the way you wanna respond. Is that what you would want her to say to you if you walked out in a sport coat and some silly tie that you thought looked absolutely fantastic and she thinks it's terrible. You want her to say, "Well, are you gonna wear that thing"? No. You know what? We hurt each other. We have misunderstandings. We create them because we don't stop to think: How do I want someone to treat me?

Now, if you've heard everything I've said so far, say amen. Here's the catch. Whatever you decide about how you want people to treat you, you make a commitment automatically that's the way you intend to treat everybody else. So, when you make your list, you have to ask yourself the question: Am I willing to treat everybody else the same way? You've made a list, this is the way I want people to treat me. Listen to what Jesus said. He made it very clear, very, very clear. "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you". So, if I decide how I want you to treat me, if I'm obedient to His command, then what I'm saying is, therefore, this is the way I'm gonna treat you.

You see, the world can't understand this because the the world's idea is what? I beat you to it before you beat me. Greed, selfishness, self-centeredness wreaks in our society. And so you come along and what do you do? You live a whole different lifestyle. You're asking the question: Now, how do I want that person to treat me? I don't care what they do, that's the way I'm gonna treat them. They don't know how to handle it. And therefore if you say in your own heart, "Well, you know what? I do understand that, but I'm not sure I could do that". You can't do it apart from our Father. You can't.

All of us have enough naturalness in us, listen, when somebody wrongs you, if, listen, if you live on the edge, and many people are living on the edge of anger. Somebody wrongs you or says the wrong thing and you snap back, you know what the problem is? You, listen, you snap back so quickly to defend yourself. Is that necessary? Not nearly necessary. Suppose you said, "Well, I appreciate you telling me how you feel". What? What do you mean you appreciate me telling you how? I just told you off and you telling me you appreciate it? "Yes, I do; now I know how you feel toward me". You know what, they don't know how to handle that. The natural man and woman, that is the person who does not know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, listen, they've grown up in a society, listen, what? Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.

Now, in our society, it's not an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. It's many eyes for a eye and many tooths for a tooth. They take you to court, sue you, get everything they possibly can. Is that the way you want them to treat you? I don't think so. I know that's not the way you want them to treat you. Now, what does it take to obey this command? Here's what it takes. It takes a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, because everything in us, the naturalness with which we came into this world, Paul calls the flesh, our old carnality, those propensities toward sin and disobedience that lie within all of us. We have to deal with that. And it is only when Christ comes into our life and we begin to honor Him as our Lord. And we begin to follow Him as our Savior, Lord, and Master. Then He empowers us.

That is, the Spirit of God who lives within us does what? He empowers us to do what? To be forgiving and to be thoughtful and to be kind and not to be prejudiced toward people, but to be what? To be willing not to pick and choose, but to treat everybody the same way. You say, "Will He do that in my life"? Yes, He will. He will enable you, strengthen you. Listen, He is the only one who can enable you to live this out, to help you understand what are the desires of my heart? And how do I want people to treat me? And how do I therefore want to treat them in return? Treat them the way I want them to treat me. It takes a relationship with our Lord. Listen to these verses, and there are many, many verses that you and I could talk about. Listen to what He says, He says, Matthew chapter ten, He says, watch this. He says, "Freely you have been given, freely give to others".

Matthew ten verse eight. Freely it's been given to you, freely give to others. Think about how our Lord's given you so much. Freely give to others. You want other people to give to you? Freely give to them. Does He not say give and what? It shall be given to you. Watch this verse now, "Give and it shall be given to you," what it? What's the it? Anything and everything. "Give and it shall be given to you," how? "Good measure, pressed down, shaken together". It shall return to you.

You say, "Now, wait a minute. You mean to tell me that if I treat people the way I wanna be treated that they're gonna treat me right"? I can't guarantee that. I can guarantee you this. Listen carefully, when you treat people the way you wanna be treated, in a godly fashion, our Heavenly Father is going to see to it. He's gonna see to it that you get treated by Him through somebody, through others, maybe through many, the way you wanna be treated. It may not even be the person that you would like to influence and impact. He's not gonna overlook your obedience to Him. And I can think in times in my life where maybe someone else has mistreated me, and I tried to treat them the way I wanna be treated, and they didn't treat me that way.

But you know what? God supplied that treatment in ways I would never have been able to imagine, in an abundance I could never begin to enjoy. Listen, God isn't gonna come up short with you when you obey Him, no matter what. So let's say you live with somebody who's not treating you right, and you try your best to treat them the way you wanna be treated, and they don't treat you that way. You say, "Well now, how long am I to do that"? Does this verse say, listen, you've already got the message, haven't you? Ha, ha, ha! In everything, for a short period of time, treat... No, He doesn't say that.

You know what happens? When you and I obey this command, please don't overlook this. When you and I obey this command, you never come up short. You never do the wrong thing. Listen, it's never a failure, it's never a sign of weakness when you treat people the way you want to be treated. And does He not say in the Scripture very, very clearly? He says, listen to this, watch this. You see, we say we believe all this, "Whatsoever a man or woman sows, that shall they also reap". Reap what? What they sow, more than they sow, later than they sow. And you know what, you can't determine what field it's coming from.

When you and I do the right thing, God always honors that. Here's what's gonna happen. Now, watch this. When you treat people the way you want them to treat you, you're gonna have this sense of accomplishment, first of all that you've done the right thing. Secondly, you're gonna have the awareness in your heart that you've just pleased the Father. You've pleased the Father because that's what He said. Treat other people the way you want to be treated.

Thirdly, you're gonna have this sense of excitement of how is God now going to treat me through others when I treat this person the way I know that I wanna be treated? How is God gonna restore all this? And then you're gonna have this awesome sense of awareness that the love of the Father is flowing through you to the other person. And you know what? They may resist it or they may not, it won't make any difference. Watch this carefully. Don't forget this. When you and I treat other people the way we want them to treat us, the Father will bless us in ways we could never begin to imagine. We don't have to worry about the consequences. He assumes the full responsibility for our future treatment when we obey His simple command.
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