When we first meet the apostle Paul, he is a man steeped in traditions, high on himself and his agenda of wiping out the followers of Jesus. Throughout his writings, he talks about who he was as a high-ranking individual in his religious order. He was proud, arrogant, and full of ambition.
Paul meets Jesus. Jesus transforms Paul. A man once bent on killing not only men but women also, is redeemed.
When we look to the letters Paul wrote to his spiritual children, we see a very different man than we met at first. He pleads with them. Remember the times Jesus has encouraged or comforted you; the times He has shown you His mercy. Use these memories as lessons on how to treat others.
“Fulfill my joy.” he says, by being full of love for one another. Don’t just think about your own interests, think of, take part in the interests of others. Esteem others better than yourselves.
Jesus becomes the model of how we relate to others. It’s no longer about us. It is about being one in Him, following His model and admonitions. It isn’t about what we hear from religious leaders or from others motivated by conceit or selfish ambition. It comes from a heart that has felt and known the hand of Jesus and reaches others from that experience.
The apostle John also writes in this manner.
“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also out to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
How we treat each other is a big deal in the Kingdom of God!