There is probably no greater, more powerful, or more practical sermon in all of the sacred scripture when it comes to our relationships with one another, than the so-called “Sermon on the Mount.”
In Luke’s recording of this most beautiful of lessons straight from the heart of the Father, we find such life and relationship altering commandments as: “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also” (Lk. 6:27-29a). It is within this most exquisite and eloquent of expositions that we also encounter the so-called “golden rule,” “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (Lk. 6:31). And then of course, there is the oft-neglected but ever essential commandment with its inherent and infinitely important insight at the end, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven… For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (See Lk. 6:37-38). Jesus concludes the “Sermon on the Mount” by letting us know that the keeping of these commandments – not just the hearing, knowing, or even memorizing of them, but the DOING, or continual practice of them in our everyday lives and relationships with one another – is what separates the good from the bad, the godly from the ungodly, or the righteous from the unrighteous (See Lk. 6:41-45). In fact, it is the keeping of these very commandments that Jesus indicates is what separates those who are truly His, from those who simply deceived into thinking they are (See Lk. 6:46-49). Therefore, it is only fitting that we earnestly consider these most important of instructions and their inherent implications for each and every one of us, on a deeply personal, practical, intimate and “rubber meets the road” level.
Do we really and truly, honestly treat one another, exactly as we ourselves wish to be treated in all circumstances? The answer to that question can be accurately and ultimately determined by truly considering these…
Ø Do we “jump down another’s throat” at the very first sign that they may do something in their service to God in a little bit different manner or fashion than we normally do? Or do we encourage and thank them for their service? How would we want them to approach us if the roles were reversed? With harsh and unnecessary criticism, or with genuine gratitude and gentle encouragement? (“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”)
Ø Do we say things to others in a manner and tone that we would be offended by, were they to approach us in the same exact manner? Or would we be perfectly comfortable with their words and way, were they to approach us with the same words, attitude, and actions with which we have approached them… Really? Honestly? (“For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”)
You see, when we willingly determine to give others the benefit of the doubt, purposefully choose to believe the best instead of the worst, ardently encourage rather than rashly criticize, and minimize their sins and shortcomings in our eyes instead of magnifying and maligning them, we also give God something as well: The exact rule, magnitude and measure by which we wish to, and will be, judged by Him come Judgment Day! Every time we judge, criticize, or harshly and needlessly approach another and berate or find fault with them, seeking to bring to light and advertise to them and/or others their every little fault or deficiency, we send God an extremely clear and unmistakable communication which He cannot, does not, and will not ever miss or take lightly. We tell God plainly, “THIS is how I want you to judge ME.”
We all, like David, know ourselves and our sins far better than anyone else on earth (See: Psalm 51). And I for one, both want and need all the love and leniency I can possibly get from God come Judgment Day. And hopefully we all feel the same way. But do we? The actual, factual, and ultimately honest answer to that question is incredibly easily evidenced by this: What kind of measure are you giving Him to one day use on you, as you daily interact with others?