Is This How I Want to be Treated?
23 June 2019 AM – Matthew 7:12 – Family – Scott Childs
Introduction: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me.” How many of you would agree that that is not true? Every one of us have been hurt by someone’s words. Often the pain caused by another’s words cuts deeper and hurts longer than physical pain.
We cannot always prevent a verbal attack by another person, but Jesus told us how we can avoid attacking others. It works every time and in every situation. It applies when we speak and when we respond. If every person obeyed this ONE command, all interpersonal conflicts would cease. We find that powerful command in Matthew 7:12 (read).
This command fulfils the law and the prophets because it is just a different way of saying Galatians 5:14 “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Transition: We speak with our mouth, our actions, and our attitudes. Before we speak, God wants us to ask the question “Is this how I want to be treated?” I want us to consider three questions that we must ask ourselves before we speak.
First question: Is this the way I want to be treated …
1. In word or response
a. We frequently use words to interact with others.
1) We interact with others with both verbal and written words. We use words to speak and to respond.
2) We say words to people and about people.
a) Words may be harsh or soft. (Proverbs 15:1) “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
b) Words may be cutting or healing. (Proverbs 12:18) “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.”
² When your spouse upset you this week, did your words cut or heal?
c) Words may be kind or unkind. (1 Corinthians 13:4) “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,”
d) Words may be inconsiderate or thoughtful. (Proverbs 15:28) “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.”
² Did you think before you responded to your spouse’s unkind comment?
e) Words may degrade or edify. (Ephesians 4:29) “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
f) Words may provoke or endear. (Colossians 3:21) “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” A right word said in the wrong way can hurt deeply.
² Your child may need a word of reproof, but said in the wrong way it may hurt more than it helps.
b. We must use words we would want to hear
1) If before we opened our mouth or begin to write, we would always ask ourselves the question “Is this the way I want to be treated?” it would prevent many conflicts.
² If your spouse spoke to you the way you just spoke him or her, how would it make you feel?
² If you parent had spoken to you the way you just spoke to your child, would it have drawn you near or pushed you away from him?
a) (Proverbs 16:23) “The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.”
b) (Proverbs 29:11) “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”
c) (Colossians 4:6) “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
d) (Matthew 12:36) “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”
2) When you fail (and you will at times), admit it, confess it to God, and ask for forgiveness from those you hurt. Isn’t that what you want them to do when they fail?
Second question: Is this the way I want to be treated …
2. In action or reaction
a. We often interact with others by actions
1) Read Mt 7:12 again. “All things” include our actions and reactions.
a) Actions and reactions may be mean or kind.
² When you child spilt his milk, how did you react?
b) Actions and reactions may be harsh or tender. (Romans 13:10) “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
c) Actions and reactions may be hurtful or loving.
² Did you respond to the inconsiderate person with love or with a mean hurtful response?
d) Actions and reactions may be neglectful or caring. (Philippians 2:3) “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
e) Actions and reactions may be selfish or forgiving.
² Was the way you reacted to your property being damaged selfish or forgiving?
f) Actions and reactions may ignore or comfort.
² If your spouse used the “silent treatment” when you frustrated him or her, how did that make you feel?
g) Actions and reactions may be angry or calm. (Proverbs 16:32) “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”
2) Often, we communicate nearly as much with our actions as we do with our words. “Actions speak louder than words.”
b. We must use the actions we would want to receive
1) We know the kind of actions or reactions we appreciate from others, yet we tend to forget this when we are acting or reacting.
2) Emerson Eggerichs wisely said, “Your response is always your responsibility.”
3) It is never right for us to act or react in a sinful or hurtful way just because we have been hurt. (Romans 12:21) “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
4) Before you act or react, ask yourself the question “Is this the way I want to be treated?”
Third question: Is this the way I want to be treated …
3. In attitude or tone
a. We may interact by attitudes and tones unknowingly
1) Our attitude and tone of voice may be sharp or gentle, proud or humble, grumpy or cheerful, angry or calm, irritated or understanding, cold or warm, hateful or loving.
2) Positive words said with a bad attitude or harsh tone will send a negative message.
3) It is nearly impossible to have a sweet attitude and pleasant tone of voice when speaking to someone toward whom you are bitter. Bitterness is a crippling sin.
4) When we raise our tone of voice in irritation, it is a sign of a spirit of anger. That too is sinful!
b. We must have an attitude and tone we would enjoy
1) I find that a bad attitude and sharp tone of voice are more difficult to detect than wrong words and actions.
2) Once again, if we will evaluate our attitude and tone of voice and take the time to ask the question “Is this the way I want to be treated?”, we will see our sin.
Conclusion: Our text today is often paraphrased “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We all want others to treat us properly in word, action and attitude. Now we must do the same. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If we will always ask the question, “Is this the way I want to be treated?”, it will greatly improve our interaction with others.
When Jesus said, “Love your neighbour as yourself”, he was saying, treat others as you want to be treated. Changing bad habits in word, action and attitude will take humility, a lot of prayer and a lot of work. When you forget and fail, deal with your sin biblically – admit it, confess it to God, seek forgiveness of those you hurt (making NO excuses). Isn’t that is what you want them to do when they fail? Begin today!
Song: Have Thine Own Way – 388