Would you steal from your favorite department store?
Would you commit adultery?
Would you steal your friend’s boyfriend/girlfriend?
Would you punch your enemy in the face?
Would you at least do bodily harm to that person who hurt you recently or back when you were in college?
Would you kill someone?
If you answered “No” to any or all of these scenarios, then why do you mistreat those you love the most? Your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends, your church family members… Because you’ve sinfully assumed you can get away with it.
Familiarity breeds contempt…
“Familiarity breeds contempt.” What exactly does that mean? One online dictionary says, “People do not respect someone they know well enough to know his or her faults.”
Obviously, familiarity does not breed contempt in the early stages of a budding relationship. In my relationship with my wife the more I got to know her — faults, weaknesses and all (which weren’t very many; I had FAR more!) — the more I grew to love her. My familiarity with her did not breed contempt; it bred a desire to spend the rest of my life with her!
How tragic that familiarity, which can initially breed passion and deep love, later becomes the presumed basis upon which we think we can mistreat someone and get away with it.
How sad when we subconsciously (or worse, consciously) think, I can treat my spouse however I want to cause at the end of the day, they’ve not going anywhere. Or, I can treat my parents with contempt and they’ll still be my parents when the sun comes up tomorrow. Or, I can mistreat my best friend and they’ll get over it simply cause that’s what best friends do.
Jesus’ invitation to play by a different rule…
For believers, we must operate by a different standard! I’m afraid we too often take biblical truth and fail to apply closest to home or even in our home. We let it stay in some sterile, generic form. Take, for example, the “Golden Rule” as found in Matthew 7.12: Jesus said, “Whatever you wish that others would to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” For a moment, let the “others” and the “them” represent your family members, your spouse and/or children. Apply it to those closest to you.
As you wish…
I’m a big fan of “The Princess Bride,” the story of a beautiful young woman named Buttercup who lives on a farm in the fictional country of Florin. Whenever she gives her farmhand Westley an order, he always answers, “As you wish”. Eventually they fall in love and…well, you’ll have to watch the movie for yourself. Now, let’s escape reality. Let’s do what? That’s right “escape reality” and think like Buttercup’s Westley. Jesus did not say to treat others according to how they treat you. He said to treat others asyou wish they would treat you! So ask yourself, “How do I want my spouse to treat me? How do I want my parents to treat me?” Then…treat them that way! You’ll put a smile on the Lord’s face, guaranteed.