Do Unto Others As You Would Like to Do Unto Them??

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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"Do to others as you would like them to do to you."

Luke 6:31

I can remember the moment as if it were yesterday. It was 1972. My family and I were on a six-week trip around the continental United States. While driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway somewhere in Virginia, we stopped to stretch our legs. My younger brother, who was eleven at the time, and I got into some sort of argument. I wanted him to share his snack with me, but he refused.

As we began shouting at each other, Gary hit me. It didn't hurt very much, but I was incensed. So, at that point, I brought out the heavy moral artillery.

"Gary, you shouldn't have hit me." I stated. "Jesus wouldn't want you to do that."

"Yes, he would," Gary responded. "You know what he said: 'Do unto others as you would like to do unto them.' "

Gary was serious. That was his rendition of the Golden Rule. As I figured out what he had just said to me, I couldn't stay angry. I just had to laugh. Of course, that didn't improve my chances of sharing Gary's snack. In fact, it probably increased my chances of being struck again. But Gary's theological defense of his behavior certainly improved my mood and ended our argument.

"Do unto others as you would like to do unto them." Now there's a rule for living! In fact, isn't it the rule that most of us follow intuitively? Don't our hearts and our culture agree that we should treat others in the way that feels right to us?

Ironically, there is a sense in which Jesus was appealing to our feelings in his version of The Golden Rule. "Do to others as you would like them to do to you" (Luke 6:31). But Jesus is not telling us to do to others whatever feels good to us. Rather, he is calling us to consider how we would like to be treated by others, and to act toward them in this way.

This is surely one of the shortest and most reliable guides to behavior ever spoken. When in doubt, treat people as you would like to be treated. Just think of how it would transform our lives if we were to put this simple rule into practice. It would impact all of our key relationships, with our colleagues and with those we supervise, with our fellow students and fellow citizens, with our family members and our neighbors.

Today, I'm going to keep in mind, not the rule of Gary, but the rule of Jesus: "Do to others as you would like them to do to you." Will you join me?

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How does the Golden Rule influence your behavior? Do you ever think about treating others as you would like to be treated? How might you live differently today if you were to take seriously the command of Jesus?

PRAYER: Lord, sometimes your teaching is difficult to understand. Today, your word to me is simple to grasp, even though it is not as simple to do. Thank you for giving me such a clear and straightforward guide to living.

Now, dear Lord, help me to live this way. Today, as I go about my usual routine, may I think about what I would like so that I might treat others this way. As I think about the day ahead, I am reminded of a meeting that might be a little tense. What do I want? I want my colleague to care about what I think and to work at understanding me. So, by your grace, may I do to him what I would like from him. Help me to care about his ideas, genuinely, and to listen to what he says, empathetically.

In all my relationships today, may I treat others as I would like to be treated, in your name. Amen.