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The Golden Rule

Thursday, February 8th
The Golden Rule
By: Chrissy Cooney
Matthew 7:1-12

7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Have you ever seen a mom disciplining a toddler who has just ripped a toy from another child’s hands?  Or maybe you’ve been that mom (I have) who said these words: Do you want Sally to take toys from you?  Then don’t take them from her. This is how the Golden Rule is presented in most religions: Don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you. In this form, it’s a matter of justice – asking us to weigh our actions based on whether we would welcome those same actions in our own lives.

Jesus flips the perspective and makes it a matter of love, a matter of grace, and a matter of action. He says to DO for others what we would have them do for us. What does love require? Don’t just hold back from taking Sally’s toy – but give her yours to play with too. Don’t just refrain from gossiping about your neighbor but extend a hand of friendship. Don’t just choose not to sabotage that coworker’s efforts at promotion but take action to help him succeed.
In these ways, you are fulfilling the requirements of justice, and showing love. After all, isn’t this what God did for us?  He provided a means of justice by outlining the Law, and a means of grace through Jesus. He told us how not to sin; and then, because He knew we would fall short, Jesus gave Himself for us. He suffered death on a cross to cover our sins and through His resurrection provided a path of freedom. Praise You Lord!  That is Love. That is a gift more precious than gold!

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