“The Golden Rule” (also known as respect) has shown its face in so many ways. Confucius is known to have said, “Do not to others what you would not wish done to your-self.” Rabbi Hillel is attributed with saying, “What is hateful to you, do not do to anyone else.” And of course, we’ve all heard our mothers say, “If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all.”
In Matthew 7:12 we find Jesus’ version of the rule. While the meaning might be similar, the voicing and resulting implications are completely different. This is what Jesus said:
“So in everything, DO to others, what you would have them DO to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12, ESV).
The previous versions are all voiced in the negative. We’re told what we should avoid doing, so it’s not done to us. Jesus, on the other hand, voiced the rule in the positive. Jesus told us to do what we would wish others to do – that is, act in love. Jesus told us to do what we would wish others to do – that is, act in #love. #GoldenRule #Matthew7 Click To Tweet
What we’ve made it…
As Christians (at least in my Pentecostal experience), we tend to remove ourselves from what we call “sinful.” We might do so in the name of “holiness;” however, sometimes we’ve missed the point. Yes, we are to love God and pursue righteousness. That’s echoed in Matthew 22:37-39:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
But just as loving our neighbour is directly connected to loving God, Jesus’ golden rule includes loving others as well. It doesn’t mean we must agree with everyone; it means we must actively love everyone no matter what – and that kind of love is an action, not a feeling (“do to others”). It’s showing compassion, standing for justice and caring for the underprivileged.
The problem is this – if we think in terms of avoiding the “bad,” we also leave ourselves vulnerable to avoiding the “good.” Jesus is calling us to move forward in faith, and do the very thing that we would like for others to do for us.
True love moves first.
We need to be proactive, not reactive, with our love. The Church is a community of unity and love whereby believers are actively loving others in a way that they would like to be treated themselves. That might even mean loving people who don’t return that love. If Jesus loved us before we believed (John 3:16), then we need to live in that example by loving others even if they don’t reciprocate. That’s the challenge.
Loving God and loving others summarizes the story of the Bible.
All of the Old Testament points to Jesus. Both the law and prophets (Matthew 7:12; 22:40) are all brought together with two relationships – our love for God and our love for each other. The two key relationships work hand in hand. If you #love God, you love your #neighbour – it’s that simple. #discipleship #jesusfollower Click To TweetIf you love God, you love your neighbour – it’s that simple. We should scratch our heads when believers find excuses to hate people or people groups. It just doesn’t fit. Jesus called all His disciples to do the exact opposite. We need to actively love others, if we want to experience the gospel on earth.
3 Simple Actions to help us actively love:
1. Become aware of how we would like to be treated.
Ask the question, “If I was in their shoes, how would I like to be loved?”
2. Open our eyes to the world around us.
There are needs everywhere, we just need to open our eyes. Remember, we are the hands and feet of Jesus on earth.
3. Take positive action; not simply avoiding negative action.
Be proactive, not reactive. Don’t wait for someone else to act. Don’t wait for someone else to love you. Take action and commit to actively loving others.
How will you actively love those around you?