The Golden Rule

When you talk about the Old Testament law that God gave the people of Israel to live by, you’re on a BIG subject. Likewise, when you talk about the many prophecies that were given by God’s prophets from the Old Testament era, you’re on another BIG subject. Isn’t it interesting then how Jesus summed up the law and the prophets? He said:

“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

Today we call this “the golden rule.” However, few people know that assorted versions of the rule actually existed before the time of Christ. They could be found in Hindusim, Buddhism, and even in the teachings of the Jewish rabbis. But the difference was that all of those previous versions stated the rule as a negative command. For example, the rabbi Hillel’s version was, “What is hateful to yourself do not to someone else.” What Jesus did was put a positive spin on things. His teaching was, “It’s not enough just to keep yourself from doing bad to others; you need to make a point of doing good to them.” I ask you, Christian, how are you doing on that?

One Christian realized to his dismay that he had become not only selfish but also very cynical in his attitude toward others. So he determined that each day he would do at least one thing that would brighten the life of someone else. What he found was that as each day passed, and each deed, his own happiness grew more and more.

But one night, as he was going to bed, he realized that he hadn’t made good on his commitment that day. Since it was late, he decided that the best thing he could do was give someone a phone call. The recipient he chose was a man who had been confined to his home a long time by illness. As it turned out, the fellow was absolutely dumbfounded by the call. Every so often during the conversation he would ask the Christian, “But why are you calling me?” Each time the answer was something along the lines of, “Oh, I was just thinking about you. I haven’t been to see you lately, but I intend to come soon. In the meantime, I thought I’d call and talk a little.” A few days later the sick man’s wife happened to bump into the Christian. She told him, “My husband is still not over your call. It was a miracle. He had just said the day before, ‘Nobody ever calls me.'”

Christian, we would all do well to commit ourselves to doing at least one thing per day that brightens someone else’s day. It can be a phone call, an email, a text, a visit, a card, a kind deed, or an encouraging word. The options are virtually limitless. What they have in common is the fact that they all fall under the heading of the golden rule: Whatever you want others to do to you, do also to them.

And so, I’ll ask you to give this a try today. Make a point of doing something to brighten another person’s day. It’s untelling how much good you will do for that person. For that matter, it’s untelling how much good you will do for yourself.

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