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timeless truths

a collection of classic sermons from dr

charles stanley

today’s selection recorded in 2003

how to treat one another


i’d like you to answer this question

with one word

listen carefully

what is life all about

how would you answer that what’s life

all about

life is all about relationships

relationships with

your family your friends your co-workers

relationships with yourself

relationships with strangers though it

may be brief relationship

with god life is all about relationships

because you see if you take

relationships out of your life

what do you have the only thing you have

is things that are material

secular and really meaningless without

relationships because

without relationships how can you enjoy

anything in life

relationships are very very important in


they affect every single area of their

life they really determine whether

you’re happy or unhappy they determine

whether you have real peace or not

relationships are essential in business

in your family

relationships to your children in every

aspect of your life

relationships are very important how

would you

judge your relationships with your

husband or your wife

with your children with your parents

with your friends with your co-workers

how do you relate to people that you

meet for the first time

you may have a very brief momentary

meeting but what kind of relationship

do you have at that moment oftentimes we

think these are things we can just take

for granted

but not really we have to learn how to

do it

and jesus gave us the basis of strong


in one single verse of scripture in the

sermon on the mount

matthew chapter 7 verse 12.

a verse of scripture that many people

will say oh i know that verse of


well you know what knowing how to quote

a verse and knowing how to practice a


is two different things and oftentimes

we can quote a verse we know a verse by


and we know what it says at least we

think we do and therefore because we can

quote it we think we practice it

not necessarily jesus has just begun to

talk about prayer

and he says ask it it shall be given you

and seek and you shall find

knock and it shall be opened then he

talks about how the heavenly father

desires to answer our prayers

and when he finishes that he says in

verse 12

in everything watch that not some things

not most things in everything

therefore treat the people

the same way you want them to treat you

this is the law and the prophets look at


he says treat people the same way

you want them to treat you this is the

law and the prophet somebody says now

wait a minute

that’s not practical with jesus who is

the son of god tell us to do something

that’s not practical no he would not

do something we cannot do no he would


and if you’ll notice he says in

everything not when it’s convenient or

not convenient

not at specific times not at other times

and you’ll notice he says

treat people what does he mean that

means everyone

i can’t pick and choose and be obedient

to god

i can treat this person the way i want

them to treat me and that person or this

group of that group

but he says in everything treat people

that is everyone the same way

you want them to treat you now it’s very


that many people who call this the

golden rule

and who know this particular passage by


and will say to us oh i know that


the truth is they don’t practice it ask

yourself the question

do you really and truly treat people the


you want to be treated well it’s very


that oftentimes we do not and i think

all of us would have to say

at some time all the other in our lives

we’ve rationalized that away and said


but you don’t know how badly they’ve

hurt me

you don’t know how they’ve treated me if

you knew how they had treated me

you would not expect me to treat them

the way i want to be treated

it’s not a matter of what you and i

expect jesus the son of god

said this is one of his commands and his

command is that you and i treat other

people the way we want to be treated

now let’s think about what’s involved in

that so what i want to do is this

i want to begin by simply giving you

a list of words that really are words

are characteristics

character traits actions that you and i

should take

if we want to build strong relationships

now i’m going to put them on the screen

here so you can follow them

and i want to encourage you to jot them

down because you can’t just listen to

this message and walk away and practice


and besides the fact that it affects

your marriage

your relationship to your children your


your friends your co-workers god

yourself this is an extremely important


now when you think about a strong

relationship what it would be involved

in a strong relationship so i want to

give you a list of words

and i want to encourage you to jot them

down right quickly it’ll be worth it

number one a strong relationship’s going

to be enjoyable

it’s going to be satisfying

it involves loyalty one to the other

it certainly involves trusting each


and certainly there is a mutual interest

between people who have a strong


there is a genuine concern for the other

person’s welfare not only today but also

for their future there’s a desire to

please the other person

when you have a strong relationship you

look for ways to please them

you discover ways to please them

likewise there’s a sense of truthfulness

you can’t build a strong relationship

without truthfulness

lying and deception manipulation will

destroy a relationship

then there’s prayer if you’re going to

build a strong relationship

you pray for one another you call each

other’s name before god

you lift up each other’s burdens to the


you desire the best for one another you

have a strong relationship you want the

best for that other person whatever that

may be

likewise you will protect each other

protect them when people falsely accuse


protect them for example physically if

you see harm coming their way

you want to be a protective someone with

whom you have a strong relationship

likewise you’re forgiving we all offend

each other at times we say things we

should not say

sometimes we’re insensitive in what

happens if you have a strong


you’re very forgiving you want to

forgive and you certainly want

to be forgiven in return likewise you’re

an encourager

you have a strong relationship with

someone you want to encourage that


any way you possibly can you see them

down you see them

going through a difficulty a hardship in

life you want to be that encourage them

either by a phone call a letter

or by personally putting your arm around

them and saying listen i want you to

know that i’m with you

in this circumstance you want to be

supportive they’re going to feel your

support when you have a strong


you’re going to be very supportive of

the person with whom you have that


likewise you’re going to be generous not

stingy and tight

you’re going to be looking for ways to

say or to do things or to give the other

person something that you know

would bring them a sense of happiness

and joy likewise you’re going to honor

that person you honor them for who they

are you respect that person you accept


as who they are just the way they are

you don’t build a relationship to change


you respect and honor them as they are

accepting them as they are

and of course above everything else

loving that person

you say well i don’t love anybody i feel

that way towards well maybe you ought to

start changing

if you want a strong relationship listen

can you name any one of these

issues any one of these items that we’ve

mentioned here that you would not want

someone to feel that way toward you

don’t you want to be accepted and loved

and supported and loyal and truthful and

all the rest

yes you do do you not want relationships

in life that are enjoyable that are

satisfying that are exciting that are

stimulating that are motivating

yes you do well those things don’t come

automatically it doesn’t just happen

people get married and they say their

vows before the pastor in a church or


someone else and saying those vows

somewhere along the way they have the


that’s just going to make it work that’s

not going to make anything work

you have to work at building strong


and oftentimes with children people have

great difficulty with their children

because they don’t know how to build a

relationship you think just because

you’re the mother and father and you

have the final word

what you say is the law but what about

building a relationship with your

children that they enjoy

they love being with you they want to be

supportive of you they want to tell you

the truth

they genuinely care for you and you see

you look around you see the kind of

struggle that people have

look for example among labor and

employees and

employers and the strife the discord the

discussions the arguments the deception

the manipulation that goes on why

they don’t know how to build

relationships with people that they can

enjoy working with

why do you think our courts are so full

running over on the schedule with


we can’t get along we don’t know how to

treat each other

if i make a mistake i admit that and we

go on in life but no we’ve got to take

people to court and sue them

get everything we possibly can greed and

selfishness and all the rest

and you see when you don’t have a good

relationship with someone

selfishness self-centeredness and pride

and greed can enter in

very easily ask yourself the question

are you building strong relationships

with people

what kind what kind of home life what

kind of nation do we have

that we no longer know how to treat each

other then we wonder why all the strife

and all the heartache and the way we

mistreat each other and abuse

verbal and sexual and physical abuse and

all the rest

what in the world has happened jesus

made it very clear he said

treat other people the way you want them

to treat you so well i’ve heard that all

of my life

well you may have heard about how much

of it have you practiced in fact

do you even understand what it means

do you understand what it means to treat

someone else

the way you want them to treat you

and so it’s very evident we look around

that’s not the way people are living

that’s why most homes are in turmoil

most people in the relationship to their

kids having all kinds of difficulty

why jesus gave us in one single verse

the problem is we don’t understand the


if you think about this is a command and

a principle

it is a command watch this it is a

command that reveals the very heart of


it is the command listen that tells us

how god thinks about us it tells us

how god wants you and me to treat one


you see listen carefully we live in a

society that’s wrapped up

in the triad me myself

and i we’ve become a selfish and a very

self-centered generation of people we

have so much

but we act like we don’t have enough

because we can’t figure out what enough


and let me just say that you can’t get

enough things

material things or prestige your

prominence of

popularity or any of the rest listen

that will

listen that will even begin to

substitute for one

great strong satisfying enjoyable


because you can have all the stuff life

has to provide

but if you don’t have a loving

relationship you know what you’ve missed


life isn’t about things life’s about


our relationship to ourselves

relationship to our heavenly father

to his son jesus christ of the holy


relationship to our friends our family

relationships that are often times very


momentary meetings what kind of

relationships do you have

let’s think about this verse for a

moment because oftentimes people

misinterpret it

somebody says well i don’t hurt people

i don’t lie to people i don’t manipulate


i don’t do this and i don’t do that and

i don’t do the other that’s not even the

issue this is not what you don’t do

a person who’s not even a christian who

doesn’t even know anything about jesus

who’s not even religious

would fall in the category of people

maybe who do not steal they don’t lie

they don’t cheat they don’t commit

adultery and they don’t

they don’t do a lot of things that’s not

what jesus said he said

treat them positive action treat them

the way

you want to be treated to boast about

what you don’t do to people

it’s not even the issue the issue is how

do you treat them

how do you want them to treat you and

it’s very important that we understand

what jesus said in this simple verse


in everything that is in every


in every situation how we to respond to

those around us

we’re to treat them in the same way

we want to be treated listen if we were

in their circumstance that is

i am to treat the other person the way

i want them to treat me if i were if the

situation were

reversed then i were them and they were

me how do i want them to treat me

well now there’s a little catch at this

and i want you to watch this carefully

because you see i wonder if you’ve ever

asked yourself the question

how do i want to treat people and how do

i want people to treat me

could you even answer that question

you said well why is that so important

i’m going to show you in a moment why


extremely important that you know

how you want people to treat you how

many words would it take

would you say well i think what i would


i was i would take your list i would

take this list and i would say well

i certainly want them to enjoy me to

take pleasure in me

to be loyal to me trusting me be

interested in me concerned about me to

be truthful to me to pray for me to

desire myself

on down the list we go is that what you


make a list you say well if i presented

that list to my husband and wife they

just have a fit

no you know what they’d probably do

they’d probably say

well now understand

where i fail and you understand where

you failed

what i want you to think about seriously

do you do you know

how you want people to treat you

on your job how do you want the boss to

treat you

how do you want your parents to treat


do you want them to say because i said

so that’s not what you want them to say

how do you want your friends to treat


how do you want strangers to treat you

when you meet them

we don’t think about that until we get

in some situation

and in the midst of the situation then

we’re trying to figure out what our

feelings are

well let’s say somebody hurts your

feelings really badly but something they


how do you feel

and let’s say for example that you you

hurt their feelings

how do you want them to respond have you

ever just stopped to think

how do i want people to treat me in

every aspect of my life for example

let’s take the lady the the mother let’s

take the wife

she cooks this fantastic meal but she

tries two or three things she’s never

cooked before

and she’s given her best and she sits

down at the table and big smile

wondering how you’re going to respond

and you say what’s that

that is not the right way to respond

or she comes out and you’re going

somewhere for the evening and you say

are you going to wear that that’s not

the way you want to respond

is that what you would want her to say

to you if you walked out in a sport coat


some silly tie that you thought looked

absolutely fantastic and she thinks it’s


you want her to say well are you going

to wear that thing no

you know what we hurt each other

we have misunderstandings we create them

because we don’t stop to think

how do i want someone to treat me now if

you’ve heard everything i’ve said so far

say amen

here’s the catch whatever you decide

about how you want people to treat you

you make a commitment automatically

that’s the way you intend to treat

everybody else

so when you make your list you have to

ask yourself the question am i

am i willing to treat everybody else the

same way

you’ve made a list this is the way i

want people to treat me listen to what

jesus said he made it very clear

very very clear in everything therefore

treat people the same way you want them

to treat you

so if i decide how i want you to treat


if i’m obedient to his command then what

i’m saying is

therefore this is the way i’m going to

treat you

you see the world can’t understand this

because the world

the world’s idea is what i i beat you

too before you beat me

greed selfishness self-centeredness

reeks in our society and so you come

along and what do you do

you you live a whole different lifestyle

you’re asking the question

now how do i want that person to treat

me i don’t care what they do that’s

where i’m going to treat them

they know how to handle it and so

therefore if you say

in your own heart well you know what i i

do understand that but

i i’m not sure i could i’m not sure i

could do that

you can’t do it apart from our father

you can’t all of us have enough

naturalness in us

listen when somebody wrongs you

if listen if you live on the edge and

many people are living on the edge of


somebody wrongs you says the wrong thing

and you snap back

you know what the problem is you in the

very listen

you snap back so quickly to defend


is that necessary not nearly necessary

suppose you said

well i appreciate you telling me how you

feel what what what

what do you mean you appreciate me

telling you how i just told you off and

you’re telling me you appreciate it

yes i do now i know how you feel toward

me you know what they know how to handle


the natural man and woman that is the

person who does not know jesus christ is

their personal savior

listen they’ve grown up in a society

listen what

eye for an eye tooth for tooth now in

our society

it’s not an eye and for an iron tooth

for a tooth it’s many

eyes for a eye and many tooths for a


it take you to court see you get

everything they possibly can is that the

way you want them to treat you

i don’t think so i know that’s not the

way you want them to treat you

now what does it take to obey this

command here’s what it takes

it takes a personal relationship with


through his son jesus christ because

everything in us the naturalness with

which we came into this world

paul calls the flesh arrow carnality

those propensities towards sin and

disobedience that lie within all of us

we have to deal with that and it is only

when christ comes into our life

and we begin to honor him as our lord

and we begin to

follow him as our savior lord and master

then he empowers us that is the spirit

of god who lives within us that’s what

he empowers us to do what to be


and to be thoughtful and to be kind and

not to be prejudiced toward people

but to be what to be

willing not to pick and choose but to


everybody the same way you say will he

do that in my life yes he will

he will enable you strengthen you

listen he he is the only one who can

enable you to live this out

to help you understand what are the

desires of my heart

and how do i want people to treat me and

how do i therefore to treat them in


treat them the way i want them to treat


it takes a relationship with our lord

listen to these verses and there are

many many verses that you’re not going

to talk about listen to what he says he


matthew 10 he says watch this he says

freely you have been given freely give

to others

matthew 10 verse 8 freely it’s been

given to you freely give to others

think about how lord’s given you so much

freely give to others

you want other people to give to you

freely give to them

does he not say give and what it shall

be given to you watch this verse now

give and it shall be given you what is

what’s the it anything and everything

given it shall be given to you how good

measure pressed down shaken together

it shall return to you say now wait a

minute you mean to tell me

that if i treat people the way i want to

be treated that they’re going to treat

me right

i can’t guarantee that i can guarantee

you this

listen carefully when you treat people

the way you want to be treated in a

godly fashion

our heavenly father is going to see to


he’s going to see to it that you get


by him through somebody through others

maybe through many

the way you want to be treated it may

not even be the person

that you would like to influence an


he’s not going to overlook your

obedience to him

and i can think in times in my life

where maybe someone else has mistreated


and i’ve tried to treat them the way i

want to be treated and they didn’t treat

me that way

but you know what god supplied

that treatment in ways i would never

have been able to imagine

in an abundance i could never begin to

enjoy listen

god isn’t going to come up short with


when you obey him no matter what so

let’s say you live with somebody who’s

not treating you right in

you you try your best to treat them the

way you want to be treated they don’t

treat you that way

you say well now how long am i to do

that does this verse

say listen you’ve already got the

message haven’t you

in everything for a short period of time

no he doesn’t say that

you know what happens when you and i

obey this command please don’t overlook

this when you and i obey this command

you never come up short you never do the

wrong thing

listen it’s never a failure it’s never a

sign of weakness

when you treat people the way you want

to be treated

and does he not say in his in the

scripture very very clearly

he says listen let’s watch this you see

we say we believe

all this whatsoever man a woman

sows that shall they also reap

reap what what they sow more than they


later than they sow and you know what

you can’t determine

what field it’s coming from when you and

i do the right thing

god always honors that here’s what’s

going to happen now watch this

when you treat people the way you want

them to

the way you want them to treat you

you’re going to have this sense of

accomplishment first of all that you’ve

done the right thing

secondly you’re going to have the

awareness in your heart

that you just please the father you

please the father because that’s what he


treat other people the way you want to

be treated thirdly

you’re going to have this sense of

excitement of how is god now

going to treat me through others when i

treat this person the way i know

that i want to be treated how is god how

is god going to restore all this

and then you’re going to have this

awesome sense of awareness

that the love of the father is flowing

through you to the other person and you

know what

they may resist it or they may not it

won’t make any difference

watch this carefully don’t forget this

when you and i treat other people the

way we want them to treat us

the father will bless us in ways

we could never begin to imagine we don’t

have to worry about the consequences

he assumes the full responsibility

for our future treatment when we obey

his simple command