I’m sure most people remember the Golden Rule from childhood. But for Christians, it’s more than a rule we heard as kids or a familiar saying; it’s how Jesus commanded us to live.
MATTHEW 7:12 (NLT)
12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”
Sowing and Reaping
At its core, the Golden Rule is the law of sowing and reaping (Gal. 6:7). To be blessed, we must first be a blessing.
Unfortunately, people in our world are more self-centered than ever. It seems as if everyone is about making themselves look good, even at the expense of others. On social media in particular, I’ve seen Christians griping, backbiting, and saying hurtful things toward one another. They don’t think about the effect of their words and actions.
We are Christ followers, and being like Jesus should be our primary goal. Jesus was the ultimate example of what it means to follow the Golden Rule. He used His words to bless people. He was always kind. Christians are to follow Jesus’ example with everyone, everywhere we go.
“Treat others the way you want to be treated.” “Love your neighbor as yourself.” “You reap what you sow.” Many people worldwide—Christian or not—recognize these sayings and refer to them as “the Golden Rule.”
At its core, the golden rule is the law of sowing and reaping.
The Golden Rule in Action
Romans 12:9–21 shows us what the Golden Rule can look like when it’s practically applied.
Verse 9 in the New Living Translation says, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.” When it comes to loving people, our actions should match our words. Many times we say we care about people, but do we really? Our love for others should always be genuine. If we tell someone we’re praying for them, then we should pray for them and not share their business with everyone else.
Love is one of those gifts that some people may need to stir up within themselves. But when we were born again, the love of God was poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). God’s love is in us! All we have to do is let it out.
Someone may say, “But do you realize what this person did to me?” According to the Golden Rule, it doesn’t matter. Who cares what they’ve done? It’s our responsibility to love people because Christ loved us. Jesus gave us what we didn’t deserve.
“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them.
Always be eager to practice hospitality” (v. 13 NLT). Christians should endeavor to be a blessing to somebody every day. This can be as simple as offering to pay for grocery items the person in front of you had to leave because they were short on cash.
Most people nowadays are glued to their phones. But if we would take a moment to look up and be more mindful of those around us, we would see many opportunities to be a blessing.
Resist the Urge to Retaliate
“Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them” (v. 14 NLT). When people are mean to us, the Bible doesn’t tell us to be mean back. In fact it says, “Never pay back evil with more evil” (v. 17 NLT).
Think about Jesus. People were mean to Him. He was crucified! It doesn’t get any worse than that. But Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who wronged Him, “for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). He made an excuse for His enemies.
I like to make excuses for people, even when they don’t make excuses for themselves. I understand they aren’t really mad at me. We need to realize that people who are hurting inside say hurtful things. Instead of saying something hurtful back, we can do what the scripture says and pray for them. That’s best. We should ask God to help them and bless them, and we should genuinely mean what we say.
When we do that, we put Romans 12:18 into action. It says, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone” (NLT).
Notice it doesn’t say to live in peace only with your spouse and kids—it says everyone! I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the less I want to argue. Living a quiet and peaceful life sounds much better.
Be Happy and Weep
“Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep” (v. 15 NLT). How do you respond when someone you know got blessed with something you wanted? Be sincerely happy for them!
On the other hand, when we see someone hurting, we need to reach out and be a blessing before it’s too late. You know, suicide is rampant. Let’s not be so caught up in our own world that we miss the signs that someone is hurting.
Be empathetic with people going through tough times. If you see anyone in a situation you’ve been through, reach out to them. Even if you haven’t experienced what they’re facing, you can still be there for them.
If you’re on social media and you can tell by their post someone is hurting, send them a direct message letting them know you are there. Give people your time. Show them you really care.
Treat Everyone the Same
“Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people” (v. 16 NLT). In other words, don’t be stuck-up. As Christians, we should never think we’re above anybody. We may make more money or live in a nicer area. The other person may be homeless or the president of a country. It doesn’t matter. We are all made in God’s image. We need to see people the way He sees them. He’s not a respecter of persons, and we shouldn’t be either.
The Moral of the Story
The moral of the Golden Rule is . . . just do good to people. Simply being nice can go a long way. Christians would have a better reputation if we were nicer. The world knows Jesus wasn’t judgmental, but that is not how they view Christians. They need to see that we are kind, compassionate, and forgiving.
It’s time for Christians to show Christ’s love to a lost and hurting world. We want to make our marriages, homes, churches, workplaces, schools, cities, and world better. To do that, let’s treat others the way we want to be treated. As we sow blessings, we will reap blessings.
Craig W. Hagin
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