two way street

Have you ever noticed that when God is trying to teach you a lesson, or give you an opportunity for growth, your "problem" surfaces in more than one place?  Sometimes it seems that what was an issue for me in one area, suddenly is smacking me in the face in another area.  Sometime it's that there are "answers" to my problem coming from a variety of sources - usually not all good.

Today I'm thinking about life as a 2 way street.  That's what they say, right?  I think what they mostly mean is that you give and you get, neither all of one or the other; or what you give is what you get.  But today that brings me to a question:

Is that a distortion of God's Word?  In particular, I'm thinking of the verse in Matthew that says,

"Do to others what you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12)

Am I the only one who grew up taking this as some kind of guarantee?  That if I treat people a certain way, they will kindly reciprocate.  I would take it one step further, in all honesty, and say that I've thought they might not even be aware or willing, but that it would be a super-natural force pushing them to respond to me in kind.  I have turned this portion of a verse, the wisdom of Jesus, into a promise.  I have taught this verse to my children.  We even made posters one time that said "treat others the way you would like to be treated", and only now is it suddenly dawning on me why my eldest took the poster down shortly after it went up.  I think, I think, she may have thought it was false advertising!

What is my motivation for "doing" for others.  WHY should I treat others the way I want to be treated?  To get back that same lovely behaviour?  What happens when that doesn't happen?  Worse yet, what happens when I'm all the wiser, and I KNOW that it won't be reciprocated?   .....human response:

why bother?

why try to change things, to improve things when I'm the only one working at it?

what's the point?

can I really let them off the hook, not hold them accountable?

what about all the junk in the past that brought me to this hard-hearted place?

what about ME?

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland."
Isaiah 43:18-19

I want a new thing.  I want a new name written on a white stone (Revelation 2:17).  I want to overcome my hurt feelings and loneliness. I want a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26)!  It has to happen within me, where the Holy Spirit lives - I can't expect this to happen because all my expectations of others are finally met the way I think they should be.

With Your help, and by Your mercy, O Lord.


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