The Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) is Jesus’ way of summarizing all of his teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. While we tend to turn it into a guideline about being kind and considerate to others, Jesus means much more. Instead, Jesus is saying that believers ought not to reflect others’ behaviour back to them. Naturally, we are kind to people who are kind to us. And we are hostile towards people who are hostile towards us. Instead, Jesus says we should reflect back the grace and generosity of God to them.
This message is highly relevant in our own time and place. By treating others as people we have no responsibility for or responsibility to, we disconnect ourselves from our community. The Golden Rule is really about treating others like family, rather than as strangers. It’s about being as attentive to their needs as I am to my own or my children’s.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- Have I ever been treated with surprising grace? If so, how did it make me feel?
- What needs do you see in the people around you? What would you want people to do for you if you had those same needs?
- Who feels ‘other’ to me? How do I view their needs? Is it different than the way I view my own needs?
OTHER SERMONS IN THIS SERIES