The Golden Rule
Matthew 7:12 “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.
The Sermon which Jesus preached on the Mount was profound and reaches to the very fiber of everyday life. Jesus was calling for a radical change in behavior which was to be found in a personal relationship with God. This last chapter of the sermon covers a variety of topics including judging others, profaning the holy, asking —seeking—knocking, the golden rule, the narrow gate, bearing fruit, self-deception and being doers rather than hearers. It all points to moving from talk to action.
The religious leaders were masters of talk. Jesus wanted them to realize that their actions spoke much louder than their words and that’s why in the middle of this whole chapter is sandwiched the “golden rule.” At the heart of it all, think about how you would want to be treated! Then, behave in that way toward others. Then Jesus has the audacity to say, “for this is the law and the prophets.” In other words, this sums up all those laws that you know how to quote! Stop talking — and start doing. That is the golden rule.
From a very young age I can remember my mother quoting this verse to me. She wanted her children to know the golden rule and that the way in which we behaved mattered! Especially in the attitude that we had toward other people. My parents have always been great examples — especially my mom. That’s probably because my mom was home more than my dad and I could observe her more but I have little clips of memories from my childhood.
There was the poor man who came and rang the door at dinnertime when we lived in Germany. Mom stopped everything she was doing and made him a sandwich.
There was the young couple who lived in the small run-down house next door and mom went over to become friends. She made them a batch of her homemade cinnamon rolls, knocked on the front door and was invited in. Not only did she become friends, but the family was led to the Lord. Yes, they were led to the Lord, but mom also spent time with the woman teaching her how to care for a home, be a wife and mother. Their lives were transformed and some forty years later mom ran into the woman again — at church. She told my mom how God had changed absolutely everything.
My mother lived and breathed (and at 91 continues to do so) the golden rule. She and my dad have not “hung up” their ministry because they are retired. Their lives are a ministry where everyday they seek to help others.
The religious leaders were proud of their words. We can become proud of our words and our ability to use them but if they have no acts of kindness behind them, they are empty and hollow. Remember — do to others as you would want them to do to you!
Lord, may my words and actions be to others what they need today. Amen.