Here’s the Rembrandt drawing that editor Cynthia Read thought of for my book cover.
Treat others the way you want others to treat you. They may or may not reciprocate. But go ahead: Smile. Risk doing good. Have fun at it. You may inspire them to live better.
Sometimes doing good to others means protecting yourself so that someone else does not take advantage of you or harm you. Your best thinking tells you that you would want to be restrained from carrying out a seriously bad action. Something in you knows better.
When you get a friendship going and both of you are committed to treating people really well, or find a group of people that are into treating others really well—how beautiful is that!
I had a huge realization this past week about community. As I was coming down the stairs to the ground floor of Kent State University’s Student Recreation and Wellness Center, I was greeted by a woman at the desk thirty feet away. Jessica and I had never met. I am not one of those ripped, good-looking, twenty-year-old guys who frequent the Rec. Her greeting was full of vitality; indeed, it struck me as full of spiritual enthusiasm, too. Her greeting catapulted my own spiritual state into orbit. When I sat down at the rowing machine to warm up, I was energized like never before and flew through the four stages of the eight-minute warm-up like it was no time at all.
My next time at the Rec, I saw a couple friends at the desk and greeted them in a friendly way. Then, once again on the rower, I thought more about the greeting from Jessica two days earlier. That was my most vivid experience of community. Ideally, a community would normally be like that: the joyous greeting, the welcome, the encouragement, the high-energy momentum of what we’re all here for. I’m now inspired to live like that.
Just think of how inspired the injured man could have been by the extraordinary kindness of the good Samaritan of Jesus’ parable (Luke 10)!
When we remember how we’ve been well-treated by others, we know how to treat them.
How have others treated you well?
P.S. Can anyone tell from the title on this blogpost that I’ve been taking courses on internet book marketing?