So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Dear brothers and sisters, I’m excited to be memorizing our verse this week, Matthew 7:12, which you may know as “the golden rule”. This is another famous verse that continues our theme of True Love as revealed by God.
These are words spoken by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. They immediately follow His explanation of who our Heavenly Father is:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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!”
God is good. He is your heavenly Father, abounding in love for you. He wants the very best for us and he desires an intimate relationship with us. He desires that we extend that same love to others. He leads us in this by offering us grace, mercy, and forgiveness of our sins. His examples are seen time and time again throughout the old testament laws, prophets, and ultimately on the cross where he laid down the life of His son so that we may live in Him.
We are all made in the image of God and have an innate desire within us to be united with Him. With death conquered and the price of our sin paid, we are free to live; expressing God’s love to everyone we meet.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
If you do to others as you would have them do to you, you are honoring that person, treating them with dignity and respect. You are not lying, stealing, coveting, hurting, or violating that person. You are loving them. But what if someone hurts us? Even if you are violated, the golden rule reveals the same response. With the shoe on the other foot, we’d likely desire a response that includes compassion, mercy, and grace. While it is true that all transgressions have a consequence, justice is the Lord’s. We must remember that. Our one command is to Love one another, even when they sin against us. We must trust the Lord and leave justice in His hands. This frees us to love as he loves us.
Romans 15: 1-3
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
The golden rule invites unity. Consider Matthew 7:7 as the backdrop: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” When we admit that we are sinful and in need of a savior and accept Jesus as our Lord and King, we are adopted into his family as children of God. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the father except through him (John 14:6). After this act of faith, our relationship with God begins. As our thoughts, desires, and goals become aligned with HIS and as we seek to know, understand, and petition Him, we begin to develop relationships with one another that are founded upon this selfless love that Christ models. Our love for God and unity with Him is the means by which we have unconditional love for each other.
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
Treating others in this way is in exact opposition to our earthly flesh and sinful nature. It is through Christ that we can treat others the way we would like to be treated. What a wonderful way to turn hearts towards Him! This love is how God reveals Himself to those who do not know Him.
This prayer from Paul to the church in Ephesus is rich with encouragement. Paul wants us to truly grasp the depth of God’s love, which cannot remain hidden. It must be expressed and shared.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
May you be blessed this week as you humbly approach each person with dignity, treating them how you’d want to be treated. A friend once told me, “you don’t need to pray for patience, selflessness, gentleness; just ask that you love the way Christ loves.” My prayer for you is that as your relationship with our heavenly Father grows, His love would be revealed through you and that others would respond by accepting Christ as their savior and king.
By His Grace Alone,