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Usha and Mercy
Kisumu - Kenya

IN HIS FOOTSTEPS

NO 8 June 2006
Scripture reading: Luke 6: 31

DO TO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU
INTRODUCTION

The happiest people are those who live in a family where there is love, understanding, kindness and support. The happiest people are also those who work in an atmosphere of understanding, kindness, respect and love. Looking at others, we might sometimes wonder,” Why isn’t my family as happy as hers? ” or “ Why isn’t my boss / colleagues as nice as his?”

These happy atmospheres don’t happen by magic. They are created over a long period of time by people who believe that showing understanding, respect and kindness to each other is the best way to live and work together. It is also the Christian way to do so.

Although everyone likes to be in this kind of community, few are prepared to work hard in making their own community a good one. Most of us are far too selfish, prejudiced, and thoughtless. We want things our own way, and we simply cannot see another person’s point of view. This makes living in a family or working together a very difficult task.

One of the first things we have to do when we decide that we want to live in happy families and workplaces is to completely “ unself.” That is we need to stop being selfish and greedy. We need to stop seeing things from our perspective only, putting ourselves and our needs first, and instead begin to put ourselves in another person’s position and see life from their perspective and put their desires and needs first. When we do this, everything changes. We feel their pain, anxieties and insecurities. We see perhaps for the first time how difficult life really is for them. And our attitude and reactions to them also change.

Jesus in all his wisdom gave us a simple, golden rule for life ………………Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

LISTEN WITH YOUR HEART

As followers of Jesus , we are expected to follow this rule in every aspect of our lives so that we can build happy, caring families and communities. In some ways this is easy to do, and in some ways it is hard. If we want our colleagues to smile at us, and be polite to us, we need to do the same to them first. If we want our children to respect us, then we have to respect them too and not shout at them and be careless with their feelings. If we want our co- workers to be sensitive and caring of our feelings, we need to be this way to them first. It seems easy, and in many ways it is. It only becomes hard when we stick on to our old selfish ways and think, “ If he is not nice to me, why should I be nice to him?” or “ If she doesn’t help me, why should I help her? ”

We live in a world that is getting more and more difficult and ugly to live in. Our communities and families are also beginning to follow this pattern of rudeness and uncaring ways. Many years ago, a young person on a bus would happily give up his seat to an elderly person. Or a younger person would help an older person carry things. Today this rarely happens. One way of setting it right is to put ourselves in their shoes and see how it would feel. Being sensitive, gentle, kind and caring in little ways is what makes families and communities a happy place to be.

GO AND DO LIKEWISE

A nurse whom I will call Saro, worked in a famous hospital. She was always kind to the patients, but particularly sympathetic and caring with those who had no family to visit them. She often spent her lunch time feeding someone who could not see very well, or those who found it difficult to eat by themselves. Saro grew up in an orphanage, so she knew what it was to be without a family when you were sick. “ I always think, if this was me, how would I feel, what would I want this person to do for me, then I go ahead and do it.” Saro had learnt the simple art of putting herself in someone else’s shoes, and in doing so, she was also following Jesus’ golden rule.

When I was young and worked in a large company, my boss was an Irishman called Joseph Butler. I was expecting my first child and was very excited. One day at lunch time, Joseph brought me a large, juicy peach and watched me eat it with great enjoyment. Everyday after that he brought me a nice, big peach. “ If you were my daughter, this is what I would have given her,” he told me. His kind gesture meant a lot to me those days as my own parents were far away and unable to look after me in a special way. Joseph was a caring boss not just to me, but to all those who worked under him. He knew their likes and dislikes, their family problems, their weaknesses and strengths and his one great rule in life was to put himself in their shoes. This did not make him an ineffective boss, but a very good one as we did all kinds of things for him which were not even part of our job description. We even worked overtime without extra pay and came in on Saturdays and Sundays without grumbling if he needed us. We too began to think like him and our working atmosphere was a place of goodwill and happiness.

FOR YOU TO THINK AND DISCUSS

  • With whom do you have the greatest problems? Have you ever seen things from their point of view or seen their difficulties?
  • If you have done this, what changes happened to you and the other person?
  • Make a list of some of the things that will happen if you lived like this in your family and work place all the time.

FOR YOU TO MEDITATE ON

Do unto others as you would have done to you.
You said these words Lord, because you knew
that this was the rule to living well and making others happy.
It sounds so easy, but when we begin to live this way,
we realise that we need to put our selfish desires and needs aside
for the sake of someone else.
This is hard enough when it is someone we love,
but almost impossible when it is a stranger Lord.
And yet, because you said these words, and lived by them,
I know it to be true.
So help me keep these words in my heart and
live by them every moment of today,
no matter what it may cost me.
Amen

USHA JESUDASAN - ushajesudasan@gmail.com

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