“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 NLT)
The teachings of Jesus throughout much of the Sermon on the Mount are quite simple yet astoundingly poignant. This so-called Golden Rule is a prime example. With just a few words, Jesus is able to encapsulate much of the Mosaic Law and many of the teachings from Israel’s numerous prophets while simultaneously reminding us that the primary purpose of those laws and diatribes is not to make us jump through hoops or to put us in line but rather to show love and care for those around us.
All of us are selfish by nature. It is easy for us to champion rules that grant us protection while at the same time disregarding those that don’t seem to benefit us even if they protect others. Jesus’s suggestion to “do to others whatever you would like them to do to you” uses our selfishness to our own betterment and the betterment of everyone around us. Rather than putting ourselves at the center and trying to do good out of that, Jesus has us focus on ourselves only as a means to see those around us and serve them.
What would our world, our cities, or our lives look like if we truly sought – through the empowering of the Holy Spirit – to put this rule into practice?