One Golden Rule for a Better World

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Love thy neighborBeen slammed lately with work, which is a good thing for the bank account but not for the blog. So I want to offer a simple thought for today.

Maybe I’m just getting old, but the angry young prophet part of me just doesn’t have the fight to be angry about everything anymore. I think it’s because I’ve tired of anger being the predominant emotion in America 2011.

As a Christian, my task in this life is to love other people, love God, and tell those people I’m supposed to love about the God I’m supposed to love. Seems pretty simple, actually.

But we make it all so complex. And in the midst of that complexity arises a bunch of misunderstandings, inevitable arguments, and way too much anger.

More and more, though, one simple truth from the lips of Jesus resonates with me. We are to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Can we get our brains around that one and try it out for a few days?

What if you and I interacted with our fellow human beings in the way in which we would like to be treated? Wouldn’t that go a long way toward defusing the powderkeg of emotions so many people carry around with them daily?

Seriously, for all our talk of ministry, how often do we truly think about the condition of someone else’s life?

When I’m hacked off about the new gadget I purchased that broke after 15 minutes of use, am I thinking about the customer service rep on the other end of the phone? Do I ask myself what kind of day she has had, whether her marriage is happy and her kids are avoiding jail? Before I unload my ire on her because my doodad disintegrated, do I pause to think how that person, who may not know Jesus, would like to be treated by someone who does?

I’m convinced that most Christians never ask those questions. We do an atrocious job of imagining ourselves in the shoes of the person we’re abusing. In those moments, our self-centeredness becomes the defining characteristic of our lives and nothing of Jesus shines through.

No one is unredeemable until that last breath is drawn. For that reason, the Golden Rule must always apply whenever we deal with others.

No, this isn’t a heavy evangelism message. Still, it strikes me that the best way to find that opening to talk about Jesus is if we learn to treat other people with the same level of love and care we reserve for ourselves. If we put ourselves on the other side of the table. If we learn to think beyond ourselves.

Jesus did.

3 thoughts on “One Golden Rule for a Better World

  1. This made me think of a quote I ran across again just a couple days ago. I don’t know if the old American Puritan Thomas Sheperd wrote these words or if Alexander Whyte penned them in his appreciation for Shepard, but I thought they reveal much of the human heart:

    ‘There is no difference. I am as you are, and you are as I am. Just try the thing yourselves. Just begin to love God with all your heart, and you will soon see that the more you try to do that the less will you feel satisfied that you succeed. And, in like manner, when you begin to love your neighbour as yourself you will begin to get a lesson with a vengeance in the spiritual life. Just try to rejoice in all your neighbour’s well-being as much as you rejoice in your own. Just try to relish and enjoy all other men’s praises of your neighbour as you relish and enjoy all other men’s praises of yourself. Just try to take delight in all your neighbour’s rewards, promotions, prosperities as you take delight in your own. And go on trying to do that toward all men around you, friend and foe, and you will get a lesson in the infinite and exquisite holiness and spirituality of God’s law of love, and at the same time a lesson in the abominable and unspeakable corruptions of your own heart that will make you wiser in all these matters than all your teachers.’

    Blessings, brother. And thank you for the post! (And thanks Laurie Mathers for the referral!)

  2. “Just try to rejoice in all your neighbour’s well-being as much as you rejoice in your own.”

    That’s the one, right there. Sometimes, in the midst of foolish comparative living where I forget and think I am competing for limited resources and gifts from God, I do not rejoice in the good things that happen to others, but instead ask why they aren’t happening to me. I am unhappy because some are happy. Horrible way to be, horrible thing to do.

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