Chris Faith, in Sunday's sermon, gave eight principles in application to foot-washing, taken as a metaphor for serving.
1. John 13:1 “He loved them to the end.” We need to wash from a relationship of love and trust. To my shame I have corrected others without this first step and done more harm that good. This is one of the reasons we need to get involved in Christian community, so please, get involved in a house group or a small group where you can know and be known. We must get close enough for to be able to love in such practical ways.
2. Gal 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. When God calls you to deal with another person’s dirty feet, please, wash with gentleness and kindness. Rough foot washing can leave a brother crippled if you aren't careful. And remember, we are no better than anyone, but could fall into the very same sin. We may even share some of our struggles, for all of us get dirty feet living in this world.
3. Remind the brother, “You are already clean.” The reason we deal with dirty feet is because God wants us to enjoy more fully the wonder of His cleansing power. We have the resources in Christ to truly change and be cleansed. We need to remind folk that we are already clean by the sacrifice of Christ.
4. Matt 7:5 says, "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Let’s deal with our own sin first then address our brother. Don’t correct from anger, envy or pride. Seek peace and pursue it.
5. Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. Admit to your brother that dealing with our sin hurts. Our aim is not to hurt but to be true friends in Christ. Our goal is healing and reconciliation.
6. And Matt 7:6 "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet." Please evaluate before you get involved in sharing your insights into another person’s life. Are they open to rebuke? Are they willing to listen? If so, proceed. However, if you sense that they will only trample your words or worse yet, turn on you with anger, then simply pray for God to minister truth to him.
7. Proverbs 17:9 He who covers a transgression seeks love. He who repeats a matter separates intimate friends. Don’t talk about other’s people’s dirt. If the Lord leads, deal with it personally, and if not keep silent and pray for that brother or sister.
8. Rom 14:5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Realize that there are differences of opinion in any fellowship. Something that “smells sour” to you may be just fine to a brother. Don’t press others in issues that are not a matter of the culture of heaven. Grant much grace to those around you.
--Chris Faith, from The Man Who Washed Feet.