How We Treat One Another

I can’t stand it when people are cruel. Whether that be to one another or to animals. Cruelty is senseless to me!

You know those commercials about how dogs are being mistreated? I can’t stand them! It tears me up! Sometimes the local news will promote adopt a pet. I want to go adopt all of them. When war comes to humanity, the images displayed of women and children who have been treated with cruelty, we see the ugliness of humanity on steroids.  I am amazed that weak-minded leaders of nations think they can solve their problems by brutalizing people of a neighboring nation. I said weak-minded because anybody can be a bully. Anybody can use their nation’s military to attack another nation. Often, nothing is solved except for innocent lives traumatized. Listen, it is not just Russia or China who have a corner on cruelty. As much as I love America, our history is blotted with national cruelty as well. Just ask the American Indians to whom our government lied to years ago.

But this is not about how nations treat nations. That was just to lead to the real point. Lest we think people in the world have a corner on mistreatment, we need to look in the mirror. One of my mentors said, “There is no more cruel people than those who ‘call’ themselves Christians.” The way we treat each other at times is appalling. I cannot stand it any better than I can stand to see animals mistreated or women and children abused. What is even more appalling is when I look in the mirror and I have been guilty of mistreating a brother or sister. So, I am not throwing stones at anyone. I am very aware that I need to remove the plank out of my own eye first.

What do we possibly hope to gain? Is it about power? Is it about having my own way? Is it my way or the highway? What do we hope to gain when we bite and devour one another? Christ never mistreated anyone. He never talked down to anyone. He never belittled anyone. Yes, He was firm with the money changers, scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites. He did not use the whip to cleanse the temple of the money changers just to play “patty-cake-patty-cake-baker's-man.” He meant to clean His Father’s house of the abuser of men and violators of God’s will. Even then, in His judgment, He was exercising mercy. He could have wiped them out completely. He had the power to do so.

So, when we do not treat each other with kindness, living mercy, considering the other before ourselves, in honor give preference to another, we fail to be like Christ.  If we have first given ourselves to the Lord, giving ourselves for the good of each other is no sacrifice. If we would put as much effort into being tenderhearted and forgiving of one another as we do to make sure someone knows we are upset with them, how much better would we be?

When we pout, kick the dirt, snarl, roll our eyes, and purposefully ignore one another, rest assured, that spirit is not of Christ.

What can we do to grow closer together and get along even with our idiosyncrasies? “Love suffers long, is kind; love does not envy; love does nor parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things and love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:4-8) Let’s give God’s love a try!

Rickie Jenkins