Soul Talk Advent Series: 'Words to Live a Life by"
Guest Blogger: Linda Hoskins
Recently a friend wrapped her arms around me and as tears were flowing effortlessly down my face she whispered ‘I’m so sorry this happened to you’ and right there in that moment I heard the voice of Jesus in her hushed tones. In a place of human pain the divineness of God stepped into my kitchen and wrapped itself around me in the form of a human hug.
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.”(Matthew 7:12) There is a sense of wonder in me if this could be high up on the list as one of the most difficult things Jesus requires from us as His followers? Much of what Jesus requires from us is radical, against the grain of what all our basic instincts would want to do. Difficult.
I really want to sound like Jesus. Just like my friend who hugged me tight and said the words that brought healing. It would have been all too easy for her to have said something different. To have placed blame, to have a ‘super spiritual’ answer that may or may not have made things worse but she didn’t.
She sounded like my Jesus.
The principle of living together came long before any instructions of how to do so. God seems to trust us with a responsibility to love one another and allow feelings of injustice to be our guide for how we choose to react.
This command from Jesus is a comfortable one when we are on the receiving end of good treatment but what about when it challenges us to grab the initiative and do it for others? Those who don’t deserve it? Those who have treated us with contempt or an ugliness that leaves a scar? What about that tiny baby thousands of years ago who was born into this world, God himself somehow poured into the skin of a human and faced a mixed response of adoration and hate?
The radicalness of Jesus takes what would be instinct to us and flips it on its face sending us into a turmoil of how we choose to live our lives when under pressure or when treated in a way that triggers our ‘flight or flight’ mode. It is a heartbreaking reality that too many people are loosing Jesus because of Christians. Too many are seeing the wrong face of Christ, the wrong tone of His voice. Jesus desperately knew that we needed his wisdom on this issue.
When we choose to do for others that which we would want done for us. often there is a feeling of unworthiness that rises up for the person on the receiving end and there in that moment is a tiny glimpse of Jesus. Could it be that we recognise that Christ himself is waiting within them to be loved and we have a choice? Maybe the easier question is to ask yourself, ‘What would I want people to do for me?’ Maybe it is kindness, understanding or a lack of judgement. There is a peace, a freedom, a justice, a fairness, a preparation perhaps that cannot be compared when we choose to do to others what we would have them do to us. Jesus doesn’t require of us that which would cost us nothing, he wants us all in and sometimes that is costly, more often than not it can be painful.
I wonder if this Advent living out the call to ‘Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you’ is a beautiful gift to give to yourself? It may bring a freedom in this season that you are looking for. After all, what if Jesus really meant what he said?
Then it changes everything.
Linda Hoskins is a passionate ,creative type with a heart for the vulnerable and lives with the constant question of how the two can meet. A mother to two wonderful boys who is making it her life's goal to try and raise them knowing the true Jesus whilst also trying to discover this for herself at the same time.