THE GOLDEN RULE
Lord, help me to see others as You see them.
Read MATTHEW 7:1–12
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
If your actions were to rebound to you immediately, would you still do the same?
Verse 12 is famously known as the Golden Rule, summarizing the essence of the teaching in the Law and the prophets. Scholars perceive the phrase “the Law and the prophets” in 5:17 and 7:12 as the two bookends that hold together Jesus’ sermon. The use of identical phrases or statements to mark the beginning and ending of a book or speech was a common practice in ancient times.
Similar rules appear in other religions, often stated in the negative—such as “Don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you.” The significant difference is that this negative form — the Silver Rule as it is often called — could be easily satisfied by doing nothing. However, the Golden Rule, in its positive form, compels us to action. This is why Jesus challenges us to take a hard look at ourselves and consider how we treat others when we judge them (1–6). At the same time, Jesus also reminds us that before we judge others we should remember how God treats us when we pray (7–11). Jesus underscores the overwhelming generosity of God to us. In view of this, treating others in the manner we would like ourselves to be treated is the least we can do.
Therefore, the Golden Rule is not merely the summation of the teaching of Jesus on ethics. It is far more than that. It is a reminder that doing good to others is a reflection of God and his generosity towards us. Loving our neighbor is a concrete expression of what the Law is all about — it spells out the goal of the Law. Jesus places no restrictions on the scope of the rule. It includes not only those we love, but everyone: enemies as well as friends.
It is easy to love and do good to those who love us. How about taking some time today to extend our love to others?
Lord, help me to treat others as You treat me. Help me to be easy on others and hard on myself.