Basing Our Behavior on the Behavior of Others

Many people simply obey the behavior of others. This 1-minute devotion explains what Scripture teaches.

The woman told me she’d submit to her husband when he started loving her as Christ loved the church.(1) The young man said he’d honor his parents when they proved worthy of honor.(2) The woman said she’d start making efforts in family relationships when her siblings started showing her more respect. 

It’s always been popular to “obey” the behavior of others – to base our actions on the actions of others. But that flips the gospel upside-down. 

Jesus didn’t say, “Deny yourself as long as others are denying themselves.” He said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves” (Matthew 16:24).

Scripture doesn’t say, “Bless people, but only the ones that treat you right.” It says, “Bless those who persecute you” (Romans 12:14). 

God never said, “If someone is mean to you, be mean to them.” He says, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil” (Romans 12:17). 

The Golden Rule isn't “Do unto others as they did unto you.” It's “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you” (Matthew 7:12).

If we are going to base our actions on whether the other person is “worthy,” we don't understand what it means to be a Christian.

We can conform to the selfish, inconsiderate, ungodly people around us, or we can do what pleases the Lord (Romans 12:1-2). 

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21  

Many people simply obey the behavior of others. This 1-minute devotion explains what Scripture teaches.

(1) I’m not surprised to hear this since it’s actually what some ministries teach (see Denying Submission). But God’s Word actually teaches wives to submit to unbelieving husbands, so we know submission is not dependent on a husband’s character (1 Peter 3:1). The only exception to submission is if a husband asks his wife to do something against God’s commands. Then she must refuse.

See: An Army Wife’s View of Submission

Why Mutual Submission is Impossible

(2) God emphasizes honoring parents throughout Scripture, and He never makes it contingent on the character of the parent. This doesn’t mean we allow a parent to abuse us. It means that we learn to respond respectfully to our parents even if they are unsaved, annoying, or difficult. 

See: God Calls Their Worship a Farce

Bless Your Marriage: Love Your Mother-in-law

The Serious Consequences of Dishonoring Parents

Bible Love Notes

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