WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 26, 2020
TOPIC: HOW DO YOU TREAT OTHERS?
BY T. O. BANSO
“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me’” (Matthew 25:34-36 New King James Version).
God is interested in how you treat those who cross your paths in life or you have relationships with. They could be strangers, visitors, the hurting, the poor and needy, your employees, clients, customers, litigants, etc. Do you maltreat, exploit, abuse, or misuse them? Do you tear them apart or build them up? Do you make them or destroy them? Leaders, how do you treat those you’re leading, your followers or subordinates?
Abraham warmly welcomed and entertained three angels, and within a year he experienced the fulfilment of a long-standing promise – the birth of Isaac (Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7). Hebrews 13:2 says, “Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” (New Living Translation).
In Luke 10:30-37, only the Good Samaritan did the right thing by acting as a good neighbour towards that man attacked by bandits and left in a pool of his blood. The Priest and the Levite – religious people – who had seen this man in a helpless condition, failed to help him. They bypassed him without lending a helping hand. The New Living Translation says he was a Jewish man (verse 30).
But despite the fact that the Jews and the Samaritans didn’t have a good relationship, the Good Samaritan did for this man what his Jewish brothers failed to do. He gave him first aid treatment, carried him to the hospital for treatment, and paid the bills.
In Matthew 25:31-46, the Bible talks about how the Son of man would judge the nations, judging both the sheep (the righteous) and the goats (the unrighteous). “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me’” (verses 34-36 New King James Version).
In contrast, verses 41-43 say, “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me’” (New King James Version).
Did you see the comparison? Did you notice the difference between the judgment that would be passed on the sheep and the goats? The sheep would be commended and rewarded for feeding the King when He was hungry, for giving Him drink when He was thirsty, for inviting Him into their homes when He was a stranger, for giving Him clothing when He was naked, for caring for Him when He was sick and for visiting Him when He was in prison. But they would be surprised when they actually did all this.
Similarly, the goats would be surprised to hear that they failed to treat the King well. When? It wasn’t the King in person that was treated well or wasn’t treated well, but fellow human beings in need or disadvantaged. But the goats or the unrighteous didn’t realize that. Ordinarily, they would have accorded the King due regard and treated him well, but they didn’t know that whatever they did for fellow human beings, they also did for the King (verse 45). They failed to treat Him well, but the sheep (the righteous) did.
We serve God when we serve people. If you refuse to help others, when you are in a position to do so, you refuse to help God! When you mistreat others, it affects God. God is concerned about how you treat others. Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments thus: love God and love fellow human beings (Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:29-31).
Hear this warning in 1 John 4:20-21: “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also’” (New King James Version).
The love the Bible is talking about here is not one that says, “If you love me, I will love you” or “I will love you as long as you do what pleases me.” It is agape-love – unconditional love. This is love that is mainly of the will, not of the emotions. If you’re not walking in this kind of love, you’re walking in darkness. God is love (1 John 1:6-7).
The natural man cannot walk in agape-love. It is only possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. Why? “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not 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” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 New King James Version).
How do you treat those you have dealings with? Do you treat them with love or with hatred? The LORD commanded the Israelites, “You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows and your children fatherless” (Exodus 22:21-24 New King James Version).
He gave a similar command to them in Leviticus 19:33-36. “And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” (verses 33-34 New King James Version).
The LORD continued in verses 35-36: “You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume. You shall have honest scales, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt” (New King James Version).
Don’t mistreat people because of the advantage you seek to gain. They may be weak, powerless, ignorant, vulnerable, or disadvantaged, but the LORD is watching how you treat them. Treat well your family members, congregation, customers, clients, workers, or students. Don’t take advantage of strangers, widows, orphans, or the poor and needy. Don’t abuse your power or office.
Political leaders, take good care of your people; don’t exploit, oppress, or repress them. You can’t mock the justice of God; whatever you sow, you will reap (Galatians 6:7). You will surely get the reward you deserve.
In the LORD’s message to Judah’s kings through Prophet Jeremiah, He told them: “Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent!” (Jeremiah 22:3-4 New Living Translation).
God is watching how you’re treating others. He is the Judge. He will judge between one sheep and another (Ezekiel 34:17, 22). He will judge between the fat and the lean sheep (verse 20). And He will judge between rams and goats (verse 17). That’s talking about human beings, not animals. As you want others to do to you, do likewise to them (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to treat everyone with love. Let me not mistreat, maltreat, exploit, or abuse anyone. Help me to build up people and not tear them down and to encourage people and not discourage them. Father, save me from wrong attitudes that can make me mistreat and send away those You have sent to bless me in life.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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