February 20, 2011
(Jesus said) "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12
In two days it will be George Washington's birthday, and I've been doing some thinking about our first president.
It occurs to me that somewhere along the line the first president seems to have been misplaced in our nation's memory. That's especially true for the young. One hundred years ago, when school children were asked about their heroes, Washington and Lincoln headed the list. Sports figures like heavyweight boxer, James J. Corbett, were left far behind.
Today these presidents are hardly mentioned because they've been banished from first place by rock stars, sports multi-millionaires and movie actors who have all but taken over the top-ten list of our nation's heroes.
Indeed, it gets even worse ... for there is a propensity in our society to make sure every person, living or dead, must have all his flaws, failings and shortcomings exposed.
As near as I can tell, Jesus didn't treat people that way when He was on earth. No matter what an individual's station or status, Jesus treated them all with respect. Indeed, Jesus' life of suffering and sacrifice for us shows that He treated us far better than we deserved.
Now, I know it's true that everybody -- with the exception of our Lord -- has their sins and their shortcomings. But to rip apart someone's reputation is disrespectful to him or her and discourteous of us.
That's why on the celebration of our first president's birthday I encourage you to give him -- and everybody else -- the respect you would like them to give to you.
If we do that, we'll be following the words of Jesus, the greatest Hero of all time. What words? The words that say "Do unto others as you would have them do to you."
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help us show others the respect we would like to be shown. Thank You, especially, for the love You have given us and the privilege we have to share the Savior with each other. In His Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries