Sunday, 18 January 2009

Do unto others.......

Do you remember that saying, "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.", or some version of it? Basically it means treat others the way you wanted to be treated. My mother used to say it to me all the time. There are numerous quotes by many famous people that are an extended version of this. So it is packed with a lot of wisdom since so many have learned this valuable lesson and acted upon it, right? Well, I thought I always did treat others well. I was sure of it. But then I read an awesome book by Gary Chapman called Love as a Way of Life. If you have not read it I highly recommend doing so as soon as possible. It will truly change your way of thinking about love and what it means and how we give and receive it. In a very quick summary that does not do the book justice at all, Chapman says that to receive kindness and love we must give kindness and love. In every moment of our lives. Now, if you are anything like me you will think, "Oh, I already do that. I am never mean to people." Well, be prepared for a major upheaval in how you see yourself. If you are anything like me you have some work to do. Not a lot, just some. For instance when you are driving and someone cuts you off, how do you react? Well, I do not react well, let's just leave it at that. Chapman suggests that even in this circumstance you should respond with kindness. Think, "Lord, please let them reach their destination safely", rather then, "********** jerk!". I will admit that even though my kids might be with me I have said some pretty nasty things to other drivers. Though I try and make myself feel better by saying "frickin" rather then the other. Makes no difference though. How about another scenario? You are at the food store and your kids are driving you crazy so you can't wait to get out of there. You get to the check out and end up having to wait in a long line, only to find out that you got into the slowest checker's line imaginable. Your first instinct might be, "I am going to lose my mind." Chapman says that in all instances you should respond with kindness and love. The appropriate response would be to smile at the checker and ask her how she is doing. Easier said then done, right? Now, how about in your own home? If one aspect of love is truth (according to Chapman) then do you always tell the truth? If your child comes up to you while you are in the middle of doing dishes or something else vitally important (not;) ) do you tell that child, "I will do _________ with you when I am done." Then do you forget about it and then move on to your next task continually putting the child off? I will admit I have done this and have done it more then once. But, if you think about it you are not telling you child the truth. If you say you are going to do something with them when you are done with the dishes then that is when it needs to be done. Again, easier said then done I know. When your spouse has come home from work acting like a total you-know-what, do you refuse to speak to him and fall asleep mad, or respond with a kind gesture like a hug or a nice hot cup of tea? If you were going to show love no matter how you were treated it would be the latter. Though I am sure a lot of us would have to grit our teeth. But, this book is based simply on the principle that some of us were taught when we were younger. If you expect people (and that means all people) to treat you with love, then you have to treat everyone with love as well. Love =Love in this book. And though it may seem an easy concept to understand, when you actually analyze your life and see how often you in fact put that concept into action, the results are fascinating. So, today I am grateful for Chapman's book. I am glad I picked it up at the library and I am hoping that with God's help I can implement some of the wonderful lessons from it.

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