The Golden Rule

When you talk about the Old Testament law that God gave to the people of Israel, 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, N.K.J.V.)

Today we call this “the golden rule.” However, what most people don’t know is that assorted versions of the rule actually existed before the time of Christ. Those versions could be found in Hinduism, 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.” You see, 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 also need to make a point of doing good to them.”

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 with each day and each deed, his own happiness grew more and more.

But one night, as this Christian was going to bed, he realized that he hadn’t made good on his commitment for 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 for 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, “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 good deed per day that brightens someone else’s life. It can be a phone call, an email, a text, a visit, a card, an act of kindness, or an encouraging word. The options are virtually limitless. The one thing they all have in common is that each one falls 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. There’s just no telling how much good you will do for that person. For that matter, there’s just no telling how much good you will do for yourself as well.

This entry was posted in Discipleship, Doing Good, God's Work, Influence, Ministry, Service and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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