Does the Golden Rule Still Apply?
So simple to state, so hard to do…Love God, Love Others. Jesus tells us these are the most important things in life! Walt reminds us when we have these two things in mind living out the “Golden Rule” is a natural result! You betchya Jesus still wants us to follow the “Golden Rule”!
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
Love God – Love Others. These concepts are emblazoned at various locations around T Bar M, most notably on our gates as you arrive. They form the core of an important truth Jesus taught the last week of His life just before His sacrifice on Calvary for our forgiveness and salvation.
A questioning lawyer in Matthew 22:34-40 asked which of the hundreds of laws and commandments was the most important. Jesus’ summary is recorded in Matthew 22:37-39, basically…Love God – Love Others.
But, three years earlier at the beginning of His public ministry Jesus gave a slightly different command. In the midst of a long teaching time on a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee, Jesus taught an important part of the principle. Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
This one verse of the Bible has become known as “The Golden Rule”. Interestingly, this teaching time was called “The Sermon on the Mount”, though that phrase never occurs in the text of the Bible. Neither does the phrase “Golden Rule”.
Why is it so hard to consistently treat others well? Why is this as rare as fine gold? The simple answer is sin. One of the meanings for the Greek word for sin in the New Testament is to “miss the mark”. Think of shooting an arrow at a target with the desire of hitting dead center in the “bullseye” only to miss the target all together. In our natural state we all are self-centered, self-absorbed and self-focused. We are selfish.
Jesus was saying we need to take our eyes off ourselves and focus in on God and others (be Dial’d In if you will). Jesus condenses the entire Old Testament into this single principle. “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18)
In doing some research, it seems the phrase “Golden Rule” began to be ascribed to this teaching of Jesus during the 16th–17th centuries. The correlation to the rare and valuable properties of gold in the natural world were illustrated in the valuable way individuals would be treated if one began to relate to others the way you wish to be treated. Ideals like dignity, compassion, respect, love, appreciation and honor would mark our normal interactions with others.
Do you want to be respected? Then consistently respect others. Do you crave a kind word well spoken? Then choose to speak words of kindness to others.
As we grow closer to the Lord through a living relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ, we have the power of the Holy Spirit to live transformed lives. Ask God to empower you to live for Him by treating others the way you wish they would treat you.