Golden Rule

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12

This passage is classically known as the ‘Golden Rule.’ It’s a command laid down by Jesus in His great sermon on the mount and is called the ‘Golden Rule’ partly because its truth is self-evident. Even a child can understand the idea of projecting your self-interest onto others in order help you understand how you should act toward them. This command becomes a rule of thumb generally guiding us to die to ourselves and look to the best interests of others. Paul expands on this concept in his letter to the Philippian church, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (2:3-4)

Understanding what Jesus is getting at is not difficult but living this out is impossible apart from the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Each of our lives will trend one direction or the other. Either by faith, through the grace of Jesus Christ, you will come to salvation becoming a new person with a new heart toward God and your neighbors. Or, you will increase in indulging your own self-interest believing fully that you are justified in looking to your own self-interest before the interests of others. One is the result of salvation, the other is the way of damnation. One is the way of Christ, the other is the way of the world. One looks to our neighbor, the other looks to self.  

I felt the need to write about this today because of what I feel is an alarming increase of public anger and selfishness. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is not what we normally encounter in daily American life. The more godless a country becomes, the more selfish it becomes. Society cannot thrive around selfishness. Everyone pushing, and pulling, and shoving, and abusing, and stealing to take advantage of the people around them is part of the moral chaos displayed in the godless book of Judges in the Old Testament. A serious part of us living for Jesus in society is living out this basic golden rule guiding us to show everyday love for our neighbors.

I challenge you this coming week to truly evaluate your actions according to this command of Jesus. Are you acting out of self-interest or looking to the interest of others. Are you counting others more significant than yourself or counting yourself interest as most important. When you follow the command of Christ it will dramatically reshape the words and daily actions of your life. Following this rule will dramatically impact on your home, neighborhood, workplace, and church for good. Consider such everyday situations:

  • Would I want someone to greet me as I pass by?
  • Would I want someone to let me in, or cut me off, in traffic?
  • Would I want someone to treat me with disrespect acting like I’m a fool?
  • Would I want someone to gossip about me?
  • Would I want someone to make a mess and leave it for me to clean up?
  • Would I want my family members to come into the house angry and yell at me?
  • Would I want someone to visit me when I’m sick or grieving?
  • Would I want a friend or family member to constantly criticize me?
  • Would I want someone to tailgate me in traffic?
  • Would I want someone to yell at me when they’re angry?
  • Would I want someone to cheat or steal from me?
  • Would I want someone to step in and help me when I need it?
  • Would I want someone to remember me with a call when I’m gone for a while?
  • Would I want to receive a note of encouragement from a friend?
  • Would I want someone to manipulate me for their own self-interest?
  • Would I want someone to do half a job and leave the unfinished part for me to finish?

You get the point. In each of these cases turn the table. Do to others the things you would want them to do for you. For Jesus’ sake, because of the endless grace and mercy He has shown to us, look to the interests of others. This begins by simply being observant. No one can do this perfectly, but if you love others like Jesus did, it will become the dominant and increasing pattern of your life. When we press hard to do this in the church toward each other, it will spread from there outward to affect society. A big part of pushing back the darkness around us starts with obeying this basic command and treating even everyday strangers with Christian respect.

May Jesus change our hearts and help us to treat others with Christ-like honor,
Pastor Vic

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