Today, I have been thinking about the Golden Rule from Luke 6:31, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” That same passage in The Message is rendered like this, “Ask yourself what you want other people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them.” Did you hear that? “Grab the initiative…” you do it first!
I want to invite you to take some time and read the whole passage in which the Golden Rule is set. The words that susurround it are also Jesus' words, and they will make the Golden Rule come alive, Luke 6:27-36.
While contemplating this marvelous passage of scripture, I realized how easy it is to state the Golden Rule in a negative way rather than positive way. What do I mean by that? It’s easy to construe the verse in this way. “Since I don’t want others treating me in a certain manner, I won’t treat them in that way.”
That’s not what the verse says. It says, “Whatever is the way that I want others to treat you, (as the Message says, ‘Take the initiative…’) treat others that way first.”
The entire passage calls us to love and to bless and to give to those around us, friends, and enemies, because that is what reflects the heart of our Father in heaven.
The verse that takes my breath away is verse 35, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, (hang on now, the next line is dynamite) for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Following the Golden Rule, includes acting like our Heavenly Father, being kind, not only to those who like us and can return our favors, but even being kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
I often hear from those reading the One Another Project, when they are reminded that Jesus calls us to love others as He has loved us and to forgive others as He has forgiven us, “I can’t do that!” That’s right! Without yielding up our lives to the power of the Holy Spirit, none of us can love or forgive in that manner. That’s why Jesus said, “Without Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). But the Apostle Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
To follow the Golden Rule, to be kind even to the ungrateful and the evil, takes the power of the Holy Spirit. When we confess our inability to do these things in our own strength, that’s when God is ready to invade our lives and give us strength according to His might to do everything He has called us to do, as followers of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.