I recently read an example of “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (see Matthew 7:12) that has really stuck with me. I wish I could remember where I read it (if you know where this is found, please let me know so I can attribute it properly). I will paraphrase to the best of my ability.
There is one piece of cake left. You really want to eat it but you think that it would be nicer if you split it with your friend who is with you. After all, that is what you would want them to do if the situation was reversed. But then you stop and think, If I’m being honest, I would really like to have the whole piece of cake. Therefore, you should offer the whole piece of cake to your friend. That’s truly doing to others what you would want them to do to you.
Perhaps this example is so poignant to me because I have a massive sweet tooth and sharing my dessert is no small favor. It would feel like a sacrifice to give up my dessert to someone else. It seems silly to think about, but it really hits home with me. I have been known to squirrel away some dark chocolate so I can indulge and not have to share.
For some reason, I really like my sweets and have a scarcity mentality about them. I am an adult. I can afford to purchase dessert whenever I want to. I shouldn’t think this way but apparently, I do. I don’t know where it came from but I definitely need to be more aware and try to change my thoughts and habits. I know they aren’t healthy.
Continuing to think about the cake example has caused me to evaluate my thoughts and habits regarding other people. Am I reluctant to share or give because I am afraid I will miss out or there won’t be enough for me after I have given things away? Am I not trusting God to provide for what I need? Do I think that I am in charge of my own provision and care? Do I think I know better than God what I need?
My actions seem to indicate that the answer to all of those questions is “yes.” That hurts to admit. I may say I believe that God is enough and will provide what I need when I need it, but my behavior is contradictory.
Isn’t the verse above really about loving other people well? Above all else, Jesus wants us to love God and love others. We know how to love ourselves and should extend the same love to others. Being kind and considerate are manifestations of love. Sharing with others is an act of love. Showing grace and compassion are loving. Ultimately, I need to grow in love for others.
My first instinct is to figure out how to fix my skewed thinking, but that’s me once again trying to be independent and do everything apart from God. I need to pray, to admit my incorrect thoughts and actions and ask for God to show me a new and better way. I need to trust God to help me see when I am acting in line with incorrect thoughts, reveal the truth, and grow my love for others. He can show me what is true and teach me how to walk in love and trust.
Do you have a scarcity mentality when it comes to giving to or sharing with others? Do you agree with the cake analogy? How do you interpret the “Do to others” verse?