by Neil Anderson
HOW TO TREAT PEOPLE
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor
A pastor came to see me one day asking, "How can I get out of my church?"
"Why do you want out?" I asked him. "What's wrong with your church?"
"I've got a bunch of losers in my church."
"Losers? I wonder if they are really losers or if they just see themselves as losers because that's how you see them."
He agreed that it was probably the latter. And he was right, because there are no losers in the kingdom of God--none whatsoever. How can a child of God be called a loser? As important as it is for you to believe in your true identity as a child of God, it is equally important that you perceive other Christians for who they are and treat them accordingly.
I believe that the greatest determinant of how we treat people is how we perceive them. If we see people as losers, we will begin to believe that they are losers. And if we believe they are losers, we will treat them like losers and they will mirror our behavior and act like losers. But if we perceive our brothers and sisters in Christ as redeemed, righteous saints, we will treat them as saints and they will be greatly helped in behaving as saints.
When Paul led Onesimus, a runaway slave, to Christ, he sent him back to his master and told Philemon to accept him as a beloved brother (Philemon 16). We need to perceive and treat all believers, regardless of their socioeconomic strata, as beloved brothers. Peter instructed husbands to treat their wives as fellow heirs of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7). Your spouse, regardless of his or her faults, is your spiritual equal and must be treated accordingly.
The New Testament clearly states that we are saints who sin. Any child of God who says he doesn't sin is called a liar (1 John 1:8). But we are not to focus on one another's sins. Instead we are called to perceive the Christlike nature in each other, believe in each other as saints, and build each other up.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that love covers a multitude of sins. Help me to be loving and accepting of others today instead of critical.
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