“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt 7:12)
The “golden rule”. We all learned it from childhood, but how many of us really know what it means? As a child, I never really understood this statement. Why did I have to do for others what I would want them to do for me? What if they wouldn’t want the same things I did? If this were the case, I would be sacrificing what I really wanted, and they wouldn’t even appreciate it! And why did I have to treat them nicely, when I knew good and well they wouldn’t do the same in my shoes? It was a cumbersome, impossible-to-keep rule. Some said it was an expression of love, but this didn’t make any sense to me. After all, the word “love” wasn’t written ANYWHERE into the rule!
Or was it?
You see, when we all memorized this verse as children, most of us only learned the first half: “so in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” It was a long time before I ever really knew that there was another part to the verse: “for this sums up the Law and the Prophets”.
But what is it, exactly, that sums up the Law and the Prophets? Jesus answers this question in Matt.22:37-40: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
All the Law and the Prophets hangs on two commandments, both of which begin with the word “LOVE”! LOVE sums up the Law and the Prophets! When we are filled with unconditional, Godly love, we suddenly want to be unselfish. We want others to have what we would desire for ourselves. We want to share, help, visit, feed, clothe, etc. These things are simply a natural consequence of love!
So my friends, if you are having trouble obeying the “golden rule”, why not start by asking God to fill your heart with unconditional love? Once this is in place, the rest comes naturally!