Relating to Others in a Christ-Honoring Way
By Michael Dubberly
Our personal defects are manifested in the process of relating to others. We desperately need God to change us from what we tend to be and do to what we can (and should) be and do, in His power. If Christ’s likeness isn’t evident in our attitudes, actions, and words, our spiritual talk is meaningless or hypocritical. In Luke 6:37–42, which we will consider here, Jesus teaches us about relating to others in a way that honors Him.
Verses 37–38: show love, forgiveness, and bigheartedness
Don’t judge (Romans 3:24–25; 5:1). Only God is qualified to evaluate motives. A fault-finding attitude is inconsistent with the loving spirit that should characterize a Christian. If you pick a fight over almost anything, you’ll be at odds with nearly everyone sooner or later.
Don’t condemn (Romans 8:1). Are you guilty of something that is just as wrong as what you’re upset with somebody else for? Or were you not tested as intensely as they were? If there’s sin in your life, your first responsibility is to repent. If you’re hard on others, you’ll be treated harshly too and evaluated more severely.
Forgive others (Ephesians 4:32). God irrevocably forgives every sinner who trusts only in Jesus for salvation. An unwillingness to forgive those who sin against you can harm your companionship with God.
Be generous (Romans 12:13). You’ll eventually lose what you hoard, but what you give away is still yours—God continues to use it to bless others (Proverbs 11:24).
Verse 39: be humble and lead by example
Realize that you’re needy (Ephesians 5:15–17). You’re not yet at the finish line, so be aware of your great need for holiness and call others to depend on God and His Word.
Recognize the great responsibility of leadership (Romans 2:17–23). Know where the potholes are and learn to dodge them. If your grasp of some area of God’s Word or the Christian life is wrong, your blind spot may harm others too.
Remember you’re not too strong to fall (1 Corinthians 10:12–13; 1 Peter 5:8). God strengthens those who depend on Him, not on their own strength. Your fall would dishonor God and hurt those you love and are called to serve.
Verse 40: be diligent and teachable
Don’t overestimate your importance (Romans 12:3). Life is not all about you; imitate Christ and form Christ-imitators, not personal clones.
Push yourself (2 Timothy 2:15). Train hard to become more like Jesus. You can’t effectively teach what you’re not living. Those you teach will seek to imitate you, so be holy and be real.
Imitate the best examples (Hebrews 12:2; 13:7). Love Jesus and invite others to know and follow Him. Evaluate your growth in Christlikeness and heed others’ assessments of your defects.
Verses 41–42: identify and overcome your weaknesses
Don’t focus on others’ faults or you might minimize your own (Romans 2:1). Your greatest concern should be recognizing and dealing with your own sin.
Be aware of your own faults (Psalm 139:23–24). You can’t help someone overcome a sin if you have the same struggle and brush over it.
Don’t consider yourself better than anyone (1 Corinthians 1:26–31). Not having fallen the way another has doesn’t mean you’re any better. Rather, it underscores the fact that God’s grace is sufficient.
Don’t try to justify your faults (Romans 7:24–25). Your sin highlights your need for God’s grace. If you minimize your sin, you’re saying you don’t need God to rescue you—you’re good on your own.
Deal with your own problems (James 1:25). Recognize that you’re insufficient for the task. Don’t let your sin keep you isolated; living a transparent life is the best preparation for being useful to God and a help to other people.
Help others (Galatians 6:2). God wants us to support and serve one another, following Jesus’s example (Mark 10:45).
Ensure that God controls your thoughts, words, and actions. There is a direct relationship between your advance in the Christian walk and your ability to be humble and serve others.
Michael Dubberly serves in Colombia.
Originally published in Missions magazine, January 2023. For more content, sign up for a free subscription (US) to Missions at CMML.us/magazine/subscribe.