The Golden Rule

In Luke 6:31-36, Jesus gives us the standard that He wants us to live by. We are not to live by the standard of the world. We are to rise above the standard of the world. We are to be better than those around us. How do we do this? Jesus explains it to us in very clear detail. Do you really understand what Jesus commands us to do?

The Golden Rule Revealed

Most Americans have heard about the Golden Rule. However, many do not realize that it comes from the Bible. In fact, Jesus is the one who gave it to us.

Luke 6:31 (NIV): “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

This is the Golden Rule. But how many of us really follow it. When someone does something bad to us, what is our first reaction? We want to get even. We want to show them how bad they hurt us. We want them to feel what we felt.

But God is putting forth a much higher standard for His children. He wants us to return good for evil. He wants us to show others that no matter who they are or what they have done, God still loves them.

This is not easy. In fact, in most cases, it is very hard. Jesus has never told us that following Him and doing what is right is easy. In fact, He even warned us that following Him and doing what He commands us will turn the world against us. Jesus says in Matthew 10:22 (NIV): “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Who are we living for and why are we alive? Is it to please men or to please God? If we want to please men, life will be easy for us, but only for a short while. If we want to please God, life may be hard for a little while, the will be wonderful for eternity.

Jesus does not leave us without any clues as to how to fulfill this Golden Rule. He gives us many ideas as to how we can fulfill it. Let’s look at some of them.

Reach Out In Love

The first is that we are to love others. But this is not just any kind of love. It is a special love that the world does not know nor understand.

Luke 6:32 (NIV): “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.”

We are to be different than “sinners.” We are not to live on their level. We are to stand above the world. Our job is to show the world what love really is.

Love is not something that we do simply because someone else shows love to us. We are to reach out in love first. We are to start the love exchange.

This is what God did for us. Romans 5:8 (NIV): “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God loves us even while we were rebelling against Him. This is what God wants us to do.

Reach Out By Doing Good Deeds

The next thing is to do good deeds to others. Again, it is not just doing good deeds like the world does. It is doing good deeds even to those who hate us.

Luke 6:33 (NIV): “And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.”

How does good get into the world? How can people understand what good even is? How can people turn from doing evil if no one shows them what good is?

Jesus is telling us that the world knows how to return good to those who are good to us. However, those who never experience what is good in life will never know about it unless someone shows them what good is and how good it makes them feel when they show goodness to others.

Return Good For Evil

Jesus expands on this by going a step farther. We are to return good for evil. In other words, when someone does something evil toward us, we are to do something good for them.

Luke 6:33 (NIV): “And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.”

Jesus is telling us that we will not win any points with God by simply doing good to those who do good to us. Everyone with any sense at all does this. Even sinners, that is, those who rebel against God and refuse to live as He designed us to live do this. If this is all we do, we are no better than sinners and God will see us in the same light.

If we want God to recognize what we do, we must do good to all those around us, no matter what kind of lives they live. God did something wonderful for us, even when we didn’t deserve it. He sent His only Son to die on the cross so that we could receive eternal life. We did not deserve it, but He did it just the same.

That is what God wants us to do for others. Do good for others so that they will have the opportunity to see the goodness of God. They will never see it unless we show them. No, not everyone will respond like we want them to. But, at least, we have given them a chance to see what good is and what it can do in their own lives.

Don’t Expect Anything In Return

So that we can really understand what He is saying, Jesus gives us one more teaching. Whatever we do for other people, don’t expect anything in return. If they respond positively, that is wonderful. If they don’t, don’t worry about it, you have done what Jesus expected of you.

Luke 6:35 (NIV): “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”

Jesus is saying that people will never know how much God loves them unless His children show that love to them. He says that the best way to do this is to give to them without expecting anything in return.

More people have been won to Jesus through this method than through any other way. For instance, Christians go into a community that needs fresh water. The people are not only overjoyed over getting fresh water to drink, they see something on the faces of the Christians that have done this for them. When they see the joy on their faces, they wonder why are they doing this, why are they so happy because they have done this?

Then they begin wondering, and even asking; “You have something wonderful in your life, I want the same thing.” That opens up the door to talk to them about Jesus. They then accept Jesus because they want the same joy in their lives that the people that helped them have.

Be Merciful Because God is Merciful

Finally, Jesus puts it all in a nutshell. He tells us why we are to do all these things. We are to emulate God in all that we do.

Luke 6:36 (NIV): “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

It is our job, as Christians, to show the love of God to the world. We are not to treat people the way they deserve to be treated (because of their evil and sin) but rather the way that God wants them to be treated.

God does not condemn us just because we rebel against Him. He does not “write us off” because we refuse to live as He designed us to live. He continues to do everything He can to draw us to Him. He will do this until the sinner has made their final decision to not follow Him.

Yes, we determine our own destiny. God gave us a free will and that gives us the responsibility of choosing our own destiny. However, God is merciful and continues to reach out to us and gives us every opportunity to make the right choices.

God is telling us that we need to do the same thing. Reach out to people, no matter what their response is. Be merciful to others and keep giving them the opportunity to make the correct choice that will lead them to eternal life.



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