What Do They See?
“Practicing the Golden Rule is not a sacrifice; it is an investment.” –Anonymous
A young man attending a conservative Bible College was encouraged by his faculty advisor, “Never act without a Bible verse to justify your actions.”
Then he met a beautiful co-ed. They began to spend a lot of time together. Each night he walked her back to her dorm after supper. He desperately wanted to discover a Bible verse to justify his desire to give her a goodnight kiss, but he couldn’t find one.
Then one night when they reached her door, he offered the usual, “Goodnight.” The girl startled him—she grabbed him, pulled him close and gave him a passionate kiss.
When she released the young man, he gasped for air and stammered, “Bible verse? Bible verse?” She said, “Matthew 7:12!” as she stepped inside and closed the door.
The young man raced back to his dorm room and looked up the verse: “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”
You’re familiar with it. It’s called the Golden Rule.
This one verse contains more guidance for living life and getting along with others than entire volumes contain. Living by this rule molds the finest Christian character, one that pleases God and blesses man. This is why it’s been called the “Mount Everest of Ethics.”
But applying it is tremendously challenging—as the Mount Everest association suggests—because we live in an increasingly self-centered society.
It’s not uncommon to hear the statement fractured: “The Golden Rule: The one who has the gold rules!” or as 70s TV icon Archie Bunker used to say, “The Golden Rule: Do unto others before they do unto you!” A culture of selfishness promotes life which is all about what you want, and justifying any means to get it.
But look at the entire verse: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
Jesus’ words “this sums up the Law and the Prophets” leave no doubt as to the Golden Rule’s importance. Concerning the manner in which we treat others, it’s not a stretch to say, “This is what it’s all about!”
Consider the apostle Paul’s take on the Golden Rule: “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:24). “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
Someone once said it’s vanity for us to speak like angels when we pray if we act like devils towards our fellow man.
And we’ve all seen it—Christian husbands mistreating their wives; Christian parents neglecting their children; Christian employers exploiting their employees—they’re the clearest examples of hypocrisy. What does the watching world see in you?
To embody the Golden Rule is really a means of worshiping God with our lives.
My prayer this week – Father, please forgive my selfishness and change my heart. May I worship you by treating others the way I would have them treat me. May there be a growing consistency in my Christian character—one that reflects you and my relationship with you to the watching world.