Several weeks ago, our son attended a heavy metal concert with some friends. As adults with respectable careers, they decided to relive their wild days by dressing like the band in Goth clothing and make-up. Their preconcert photo featured two friends as Goths, flanking our son in the middle, who was outfitted in dress slacks and a long-sleeved shirt with tie. His costume label was counter-culture.
This is a humorous illustration of a shift that has taken place in the last 50-75 years that is actually not funny when it comes to man’s concern and treatment of his fellow man. Up to that marker in time, the golden rule was commonly practiced, “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7:12) The Apostle Paul took great care to remind the Corinthian Church, “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” (1 Corinthians 10:24) Sadly, these specific biblical instructions have been replaced with “I have to do what’s good for me and mine.” The fallout of this self-centered life-style now governs many human interactions.
Who of us could honestly say we always seek the good of others, whether we know them or not? Are we seriously interested in the good of those who malign and accuse us when we disagree with their views? Do we even seek the good of family members when they disappoint or mistreat us? In a nutshell, we have replaced God’s Word with human wisdom grounded in self, and we invoke a justice system based on pay-back. We’re right, they’re wrong, and they deserve what they get. Preserving self is the priority.
As with all other aspects of life, Jesus set the example. “He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:18) That means that what is important to Jesus should be important to us, and our treatment of others should be characterized by biblical truth. Therefore, because God is the Creator of all life, we respect every human life, from conception to old age, every race, both males and females. We don’t disincentivize God’s work ethic by promoting what benefits a few at the expense of many. We seek to be peacemakers and unifiers according to God’s statutes given to benefit man. Ultimately, we honor the profound wisdom of God above man’s God-given intellect; to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39), and to seek to serve, rather than being served (Matthew 20:38).
Sadly, we can apparently be in agreement with truth, yet fail to act on it. I believe it is because we fear we will miss out, or be taken advantage of, if we’re not looking out for ourselves. The unspoken confession is that we don’t trust God to look after our interests better than we believe we can. Have we disregarded what Jesus said in Matthew 6:31-33 on that errant basis? “31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Where the tidal wave of human reasoning is sweeping people into isolation through selfishness, we need contrarians who dare to take God at His Word. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8) Today’s contrarian is free in Christ to treat others as Jesus does.