Although not named so by Him, the law Jesus gave in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31 is often called the “golden rule.” “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). This truth is applicable in all relationships of life.
Think of the peace that can be had in the home when this rule is followed. A husband and wife disagree strongly about something. They raise their voices and tempers flare. Things are said that will later be regretted. Beside the fact that the tongue is used for sin, Jesus’ golden rule has been forgotten, paving the way and giving opportunity to that sin. “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” The law is proactive in nature; that is, it does not suggest you just avoid doing what you would not want your husband or wife to do to you, but it commands you and I to proactively do what we would want him or her to do for us. Dismiss any thought about what you think they “deserved” at the time you said it. The golden rule is not about what you think someone deserves. Personally, I need mercy, and that’s not what I deserve.
Consider the peace to be had in personal relationships when the rule is followed. Sometimes someone will assign the wrong motives and intentions to another without any proof. Beside the truth that love demands that we believe the best about another until shown or proven otherwise (1 Corinthians 13:7), Jesus’ golden rule has been violated. “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” Just following the golden rule would eliminate slander, evil speaking, and gossip.
The faithful Christian will tell you that if you ever see him straying from the truth, he wants you to bring that to his attention lest he be overcome and lost! Yet do brethren sometimes neglect responsibility to be their brother’s keeper? “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” Don’t twist the rule and say that if you were him and had fallen away from the Lord, the last thing you would probably want to hear is someone telling you about your error, and so you won’t talk to him because you can see how he would not want to hear from you. That’s perverted thinking. The golden rule contemplates doing what is good and right in the sight of the Lord, not what the devil says is good!
The golden rule compels us to want to give to and to bless others, return blessing for cursing, and return good for evil. “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” Think of the good that can be accomplished when others see you and I living by the golden rule. It is part of this: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
- Larry Jones