It's called the Golden Rule, and those who apply it are as good as gold, too.


 

                                                 Matthew 7:12

"Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, 
            for this is the Law and the Prophets."
                                                               --New King James Version

 
"In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,
            for this sums up the Law and the Prophet"  
                                                               --New International Version
 
"Treat other people exactly as you would like to be treated by them--
            this is the essence of all true religion."
                                                              --J. B. Phillips Translation


                                               Time to Dream

Here's your chance. What would you really appreciate from others?
How would you like to be treated? How about breakfast in bed for
starters! Quiet while you read the newspaper or study for a test?
Maybe you just need some pleasantries instead of growls from those
you meet. Think big! Just name it!

In your mind run down the list. How would you like to be treated--at
home, school, work, on the highway, by your friends, when you are
stuck, hurt, frustrated, or find yourself lost and afraid? How would
you like people to respond toward you and handle your feelings?

Take your time. Relish the moment. Make some notes; get it on
paper. This is an invitation to dream. You get to express yourself
and lay out the perfect atmosphere in which to thrive and be all you
can be. Go ahead. Describe those traits you desire in others. Jot
down those strokes that make you purr?

Are you a bit suspicious now? Wondering what's up! Maybe you're
thinking, "Why bother, because it's not going to happen anyway!
No one's going to treat me special." But if you say that, you miss
the point. You have it backwards!

The reason for all this dreaming is not to present your essay to
friends and family and say, "Please treat me this way." The purpose
is for you to take that dream and behave toward them accordingly!
You are the intended giver, not the intended receiver. Well, you might
have known there would be a catch!

This is what the Man said: "Do to others what you would have them
do to you." Are we listening? This one verse fulfills the Law and
the Prophets! It sums up all that is required of us. It's what true
religion means. If we don't remember anything else Jesus said,
surely we can remember this one sentence. And do it!

Forget conventional thought: Do to others what they do to you; or,
do to others before they do to you. Neither is this verse the ancient,
negative form that was generally accepted: Don't do to others what
you would not like them to do to you. Which would be like saying,
I won't steal from you because I don't want you to steal from me.
It's old common sense, but not exactly what Jesus was teaching.
Not doing anything to anybody would not fulfill Jesus' definition of
righteousness. Doing no harm is not the same as doing something
helpful.

Jesus gave the negative form a positive twist. "Just as you want
others to do to you, you do the same to them!" By doing so, he
reworked the ancient words until they became uniquely Christian.
I am to do to others exactly what I would like them to do to me.
It doesn't matter how the other person treats me. I am on the
offensive, therefore I'm not paying someone back for what they
did yesterday.

There's not much to discuss about this verse. Either we listen to
Jesus' words, take them to heart, and do it.   Or we don't.

  • So instead of discussion, here's the assignment. Pick a day
    to consciously practice this golden rule, a day when you will
    "do to others as you would like them to do to you." Try it for
    one day and see what happens. (You may find it can't be done
    in one day. There are too many people to phone, write, give
    attention to. Too many acts of kindness to fit into 24 hours.)
  • Or you might approach the assignment this way. Select
    one or two people you interact with on a daily basis. Pick a
    day when you will concentrate on treating them the way you
    would like to be treated.
  • Or try to be aware of the expression on your face when you
    interact with people. Is your expression the look you like to see
    on the faces of the people who are looking at you? For one day
    try to be conscious of this and always direct your attention to 
    people with the same expressive look you like others to greet
    you with.

These are suggestions. You get the idea. Think of other applications
more suitable for yourself if you like. But by all means find a way to
experience this simple, yet profound, teaching of Jesus, "Do to others
as you would like them to do to you."

Why? Because Jesus said so, and that makes it powerful and life-giving.
Of course, Jesus had in mind that we live this verse, not just one day,
but everyday. Which means we become a doer and not a hearer only.
That's very important because we're getting toward the end of this
Sermon on the Mount where Jesus has some hard, discomforting words
to say about people who hear his message but do nothing about it!

Are we listening?
Are we doing?

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