Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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The Golden Rule

Meditation for the week of January 11, 2009

Matthew 7:12

"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

The world would be a lovely place if we all practiced the Golden Rule.  Rather we tend to practice its perversion which says, “Do unto others before they do unto you.”  Or sometimes we practice another revision which says, “Do unto others whatever they do unto you.”  Instead of turning the other cheek, we take karate lessons and boxing lessons.  We keep guns in our houses and in some cases in holsters or purses so that nobody will ever want to take advantage of us.  Nationally we meet force with force, and while we may win the battle for control of the real estate, we certainly lose the battle for the hearts of men. 

We know that heaven in not entered by the good that we do.  The reason for that is that none of us has done good as for as God is concerned. See Romans 3:12.  Since our natures are not Godlike,  we are more likely to do bad than good.  A child does not have to be taught how to be bad, but we do teach children how to be good.   Even people who are really quite good have done some bad.  We need a new nature to have the power to even want to carry out this command. 

Doing unto others what we want others to do unto us is probably the narrow door of the next two verses.  It just isn’t easy to be like God when we live in a world of sin and hate.  The desire to be loving and to treat others the way we want to be treated is not natural.  It is not the way we are raised.  We are told that if we don’t look out for number one, no one else will.  We certainly don’t want to be considered weak in a dog eat dog world.  So we learn to take and not give.  We learn to fight for our rights if anyone in any way threatens them.  That is why we must be born again to enter God’s heaven.

If we are going treat others the way we want them to treat us, we are going to have to have empathy.  We need to be able to understand another person’s situation, feelings, and motives.  Some would say we have to walk in their shoes in order to properly understand them.  Then we are also going to need sympathy when people run into trouble, even if that trouble is of their own making.  The only person I know that has really exhibited empathy and sympathy for those who didn’t deserve His consideration, was the Lord himself.  Instead of destroying a world who wanted to destroy Him, he literally turned the other cheek and went the second mile.  He bore our sins in His own body on the cross.  He didn’t assign blame for bad decisions, He just came to where we were and met our need.  I realize that He died for acting in a loving, kind, and gracious way, but that is why we who have made many bad decisions love Him.  He hasn’t rejected us just because we have failed over and over again. 

In our present economy, there are going to be many bankruptcies.  What would have been good decisions if the economy had continued growing have turned out to be bad decisions in many cases.  It is fairly easy with the benefit of hindsight for us to say now that those who are overextended financially should have known that this could happen and for us to be critical of them.  But I think most people who won’t be able to make ends meet will need to have their debts forgiven, and then they will need to find empathy and sympathy from those of us who are still solvent. 

There are two reasons why we need to be forgiving and not critical.  One is that the Lord tells us that this is the standard by which we should live.  And the other is that before this economic meltdown runs its course, we may all be begging for the means to feed out families and to keep roofs over our heads.  The Bible says famine is coming.  The signs of the times say famine could be closer than we think.  We certainly don’t want to set a standard for others that comes back and bites us before the Lord comes and straightens this whole mess out.

"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Bruce Collins

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