“The One and Only Golden Rule” ( Matthew 7:12 WYC ) by Carley Evans


Therefore all things, whatever things ye will that men do to you, [and] do ye to them, for this is the law and the prophets.

Almost every person – at least every person who grew up in the Western world – knows this saying of Jesus. Jesus says, “If you want it done to (or for) you, then by all means be sure you do it for (or to) others.”

Don’t be spewing hate at other people if you don’t like hate spewed at you. Don’t throw rocks at dogs if you don’t want dogs to bite you. Don’t drop a nuclear weapon on your enemy if you don’t want a nuclear weapon dropped on your neighborhood. Don’t steal from your government if you don’t want your government to steal from you. Don’t cheat on your spouse if you don’t want your spouse to cheat on you. Don’t whisper and gossip about poor Mrs. Jones down the block if you don’t want Mrs. Jones to whisper and gossip about you.

And so on.

Except Jesus says one more thing. He says that the so-called Golden Rule is the sum – the whole – of the Law and the Prophets. The Golden Rule is the whole shebang.

Yes, yes! I hear you. The first part is critical to the second part – Jesus says to love the Lord your God with your all, with everything you have, everything you are. But He also reminds that if you do not love the one you see next door, how can you possibly love the One you can not see!

“Seek No Revenge” ( Leviticus 19:18, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


Vincent van Gogh, 1890. Kröller-Müller Museum....
Vincent van Gogh, 1890. Kröller-Müller Museum. The Good Samaritan (after Delacroix).

Do not seek revenge, or bear a grudge for wrong done to thee by thy fellow-citizens; thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; thy Lord is his.

God is clearly not interested in our grudges or in our desires for revenge against those who wrong us. Instead, God longs for us to love one another in the same way we love ourselves. He wants us to recognize that our fellow-citizens belong to Him, too. They are His just as we are. God is like the parent who says, “Don’t spank my kid for me, please. I’m perfectly capable of disciplining my own child –” except in our case, we are also a child of the same parent.

If you live in a glass house, you ought not to throw stones at your neighbor even if his house is also made of glass.

“Do To Others – oh – the Golden Rule” ( Matthew 7:12, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


"The Golden Rule" mosaic
“The Golden Rule” mosaic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Such a simple statement – “do to others what you would have them do to you.” But the second statement that Jesus makes is a bit grandiose, don’t you think? He says, “That is the law and the prophets.” Read it:

“Do to other men all that you would have them do to you; that is the law and the prophets.”

Jesus says that if you behave toward others in ways you’d like them to behave toward you, then you’ve fulfilled the law. Every word handed down to you from the Old Covenant prophets has led you to this understanding – that what you do to others should match what you would have them do to you.

If I’m lonely, I like to be comforted. If I’m hungry, I want someone to make sure I’m fed. If I’m hurt, I’d like someone to heal me. If I’m homeless, I’d like someone to give me shelter. If I’m different from you, I’d like your acceptance.

Pretty simple, really – the golden rule.

“In Any Translation, God is GOD” ( Leviticus 19:18, Many Versions ) by Carley Evans


Vincent van Gogh, 1890. Kröller-Müller Museum....
Vincent van Gogh, 1890. Kröller-Müller Museum. The Good Samaritan (after Delacroix). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In every translation, God reminds us that He is God — the LORD, the Lord, Jehovah, Yahweh. He states this at the end of the verse in every translation. Usually the most important point in a statement comes at its end. So, let’s agree that the key element in this command is that we remember and recognize that God is God! Next, in order of importance, is that we treat others — whether our friends or our neighbors — as we treat ourselves. Finally, we are not to hold grudges or seek revenge or remember and remind others of their wrongdoings. We are to forgive, in other words. Here is the same verse in a variety of translations; read each carefully.

“Thou shalt not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people; but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am Jehovah.” (ASV)

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” (ESV)

“Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbor as yourself; I am Yahweh.” (HCSB)

“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” (KJV)

“Forget about the wrong things people do to you, and do not try to get even. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord.” (NCV)

““‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” (NIV 1984)

“Thou shalt not seek vengeance, neither thou shalt be mindful of the wrong of thy citizens (nor shalt thou remember the wrong-doings of thy fellow citizens); thou shalt love thy friend as thyself; I am the Lord.”(WYC)

“Seek not revenge, nor be mindful of the injury of thy citizens. Thou shalt love thy friend as thyself. I am the Lord.” (DRA)

“Don’t seek revenge or carry a grudge against any of your people. “Love your neighbor as yourself. I am God.” (MSG)

 

“The Social Gospel” (Matthew 25: 46, NEB) by Carley Evans


God “separates men into two groups” — with men who behave as goats on His left, and men who behave as sheep on His right. The goats do not come to God’s help while the sheep do. The sheep help those who are without shelter, without food, without clothing; who are in sickness or imprisoned. The goats fail to help, living a life of selfishness, apparently oblivious to others’ suffering. They do not shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick or those imprisoned. They do not help God.

Both groups ask, “When did we see You, Lord?”

God responds to both, “When you see My brothers, You see Me.” He explains,”What you do or fail to do for them, You do or fail to do for Me.”

The goats Jesus says, “go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous [sheep] enter eternal life.”

He says to these sheep, “You have my Father’s blessing; come, enter and possess the kingdom that has been made for you since before the world was made.” (Matthew 25: 34)

“Treat others as you like them to treat you,” says Jesus. (Luke 6: 31) And as you treat others according to this “golden rule,” you treat Jesus as well.

“Whatever You Wish” (Matthew 7: 12, ESV) by Carley Evans


Jesus says, “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” Everything in the Law, everything in the Prophets points to and contains this one rule.

Have you given a gift to someone only to discover later that they did not care for it? Was this gift something you wanted to buy for yourself? Did you instead buy it for another person, wrap it, and give it away, secretly wishing someone would give you that very gift? This is love despite the fact that the other person did not, could not fully appreciate your small act of self-denial.

The character, Wesley in THE PRINCESS BRIDE says to Princess Buttercup, “As you wish” to indicate to her that he loves her enough to do whatever she wishes. He sets his own agenda aside and waits upon her desires.

Jesus calls us to examine situations and figure what we would wish in that particular circumstance; then do for others that wish.

You see a man on a cold January morning going through trash cans at a gas station, and you have filled your car with gasoline. Do you drive away? Or do you think about being cold, hungry, perhaps frightened for the coming night when the temperature will drop even more? Do you invite him to your home? Perhaps. Perhaps you do a simpler deed — approach him, ask him if he’d like some breakfast.

“Just coffee.”

“Cream, sugar?”

“Black.”

You stroll into the store, get the coffee, and think about being hungry. You pick out several power bars. The tab comes to five dollars.

You take the food and coffee to the man, who thanks you.

No matter what the circumstance, there is a small gift of love you can give. Of course, there is much more to give. Giving what you can is better than giving nothing.

Jesus loves many people who never appreciate His love. They do not even know He loves them; that He gives His very life for them. Jesus gives His all. Few of us have ever given our all.

Whatever you wish, give.