…as others have done unto you. That’s how many Christians live the Golden Rule.
Or is it, before others do unto you? I’ve met a few of those Christians too.
More than likely it is, only if they do unto you. That’s how the majority of Christians I know, myself included, usually live out the Golden Rule. Culture tends to cloud things up and some of the preaching I hear nowadays only adds to the confusion. So when in doubt, get your Bible out.
I always find clarity in God’s Word, especially when it comes to the Golden Rule. Jesus said:
“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
Jesus is summing up His teaching on judging others; that’s what the therefore is there for. The examples above are real and show the difficulty in living the Christian life Jesus expects of us. You’ve heard it said that our attitude determines our altitude and this is true with how we deal with people. The Golden Rule or Most Important Rule, more accurately, is how our attitudes towards other people should be.
In fact Jesus is not introducing a new rule to His disciples, that’s why He finishes the teaching with “for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Our Lord is speaking of the Old Testament. So to what is Jesus referring?
Moses taught us to love impartially:
“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:17-19)
Solomon taught us the power of love:
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.” (Proverbs 10:12)
Our pride can be stirred up in a moment and if we are not living by the Golden Rule then we will sink to the lowest and become haughty and critical. This is how it always works with me. How about you?
Do you remember why we started this study of the Sermon on the Mount? It is to learn how to be a Christian and we can sum up Matthew 7:12 with “do good.” And as I look at parallel passages in the Bible to this verse, beloved, I, the church, you, the very large majority of American Christendom are failing miserably. The Bible teaches us to do good in several ways and might I add contrary to our nature and culture:
Remember Jesus teaching us to love our enemies?
“If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden, and you would refrain from helping it, you shall surely help him with it.” (Exodus 23:4-5)
Have you ever gone out of your way to help your enemy much less love him or her? I haven’t.
“Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:11-14)
Really? I am completely undone by this passage.
Are you serious Bro Dave? This is what Jesus was speaking about when He was teaching us the Golden Rule? Are you sure?
Yes, unless it’s okay to uncouple the Old from the New Testament but as Bro Dennis has been teaching our men’s Bible study about Biblical numerology, the number 2 represents witness. We have two testaments that witness about Christ.
Beloved, I am not trying to say living this way is easy; we’ve already said it is not. In fact, if we decide to live by the Golden Rule we should expect hardship. People oppose Jesus and they will oppose us should we finally decide to live for and speak about Him. Wiersbe says, “We are salt, and salt stings the open wound. We are light, and light exposes dirt.”
Now we must be sure that when we apply the salt we are not grinding it into the wound with glee nor shining our light and shouting, “AH HA!!!”
Then why judge at all if all we are going to do is cause strife and opposition? What good is it for us to judge, myself and others?
We’ll look at that tomorrow…
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers