“In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”
The Golden Rule
These words from Jesus in Matthew chapter 7 are commonly known as the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Many, if not all of us, have heard those words spoken to us often by parents, teachers, and anyone else trying to teach us good morals. Whether we were arguing with our siblings or squabbling with a classmate, we likely heard the encouragement to treat others as we would like to be treated.
It sounds nice, doesn’t it? It sounds reasonable. It sounds like a nice goal. If we all followed the Golden Rule, we would all get along wonderfully and we wouldn’t have problems or conflicts with anyone. That sounds great! It sounds so easy!
But it isn’t. Like most things Jesus teaches us in his Sermon on the Mount, putting the Golden Rule into practice in our lives is very difficult. More than that, it’s impossible. We’ d much rather, and so often, end up treating others the way they treat us—eye for an eye, insult for insult, and sarcastic comment for sarcastic comment. If someone cuts us off in traffic, we shout angrily. If someone offends us, we lash out at them. If someone slights us in the least, we strive to settle the score.
Isn’t it remarkable how Jesus is so very different from sinners like you and me? Had you and I been on that cross suffering for sins we didn’t commit, we would have shouted terrible things at those who insulted us. We would have called on God to strike those who were tormenting us. But in love for sinners, Jesus instead prayed: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And to one crucified next to him he said: “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”
Our Savior Jesus, rather than retaliate and get back at us for every time we have sinned against him, willingly gave his life on the cross for you and for me. He is the only one who ever perfectly kept the Golden Rule. By the grace of God, you and I get the credit for our Savior’s perfect life and our sins are paid for through his innocent suffering and death in our place.
Jesus’ amazing love moves you and me to follow the Golden Rule in thankfulness for all he has done for our salvation.
Dear Jesus, thank you for never getting even with me. Forgive me for the shabby way I have treated others. Fill me with your love that I may do to others what I would have them do to me. Amen.
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