“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31.
One of the most challenging things we encounter in life is dealing with others. Few problems occur when we do to others what we want done to us. The hard lessons come when we do to others what we would not want done to us, and as a result, what we do comes back as a lesson for us to learn from.
When others hurt us a different problem arises, and that is our reaction. Instead of dealing with the hurt, we often react with judgment and pride, and end up making things much worse. Simply put, in our reaction we usually do not do what we would want done.
There are certain ways to handle these situations. “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17.
First, ask yourself if your hurt is based on personal experience. Personal experience means something has been done to you directly. As stated, it is a sin “against you”. Each situation needs to be evaluated and dealt with individually not collectively. We should not collectively transfer past wrongs others have committed onto others, nor something done to someone else onto ourselves, and we should not sway others to do so either.
Second, ask yourself if you have gone to the person alone before you went to anyone else. As stated, that should be the first step. If not, you are likely to gossip about the situation to others or confront the person publicly instead of talking to them alone. These reactions occur because we want validation, others to see our side, and to embarrass or get even. We work to show others how horrible the person is, and try to impress them with comments about how we would never do the same thing. However, the true goal is to change harmful behaviors. Outsiders to the situation cannot change the behaviors we complain about, and confronting a person in front of others will only cause embarrassment and anger. If we are really bothered by something a person does, we would go to them alone first, where change can actually occur.
We may feel validated momentarily, but in the long run we suffer because the validation is replaced by mistrust in us. When we gossip about a person or embarrass them in front of others, all we show is what we are capable of and others maybe next. “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.” Romans 12:17.
Also, we suffer because we are doing something just as bad. God covers all bases, and tells us to go to the person first, and if we do not go to the person first and we attempt to slander them to others, He tells them not to associate with us. “But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” 1 Corinthians 5:11. Instead we are to “be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” Titus 3:1-2.
Third, go back to the mirror, and examine whether you have done the same to anyone else. This is the one time you should be collective in your thoughts on who hurt who. If you did the same thing to someone else, you are receiving the “comes around” of the “goes around”. The truth is what we do to others will be done to us. “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2.
Always examine whether your own actions are causing hurt or pain, and look back to see how you felt when the same things were done to you. When we do this, we know that we should only act from personal experience because we would not want others judging us for a situation that had nothing to do with them. Also, we know that we should go to the person who hurt us alone first, instead of gossiping or embarrassing them because that is what we would want done for ourselves. Moreover, we know if we go against those principles, we are doing to others what we would not want done to us, and in turn,
We will suffer from exactly what we are complaining about.