“In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12, NET 2005).
Musings – Most people, whether or not they consider themselves to be a Christian, or otherwise religious, are familiar with the “Golden Rule.” Even detractors of Christianity, and of religion in general, would probably agree that it is a good “rule” to live by.
But what if others do not treat you as you would like? Then they are likely to activate the John Bernard Books rule. “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.” John Bernard Books? A character played by John Wayne is his last movie, The Shootist. John Wayne also said, “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by.” The above Books quote is likely one he lived by in real life. And when it comes to being wronged, many might agree. As even a casual look at social media would attest. But is this the right creed to live by?
Jesus plainly says no. His “code?” “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” (Luke 6:27–33, ESV 2016). This is what is meant by “in everything” in the Golden Rule.
My Advice – Clearly a tall order. But Jesus calls us to have a Godly character and as the Apostle Paul wrote, to not conform to the patterns or creeds of this world. We will have many opportunities to fail. How about the undocumented alien? People who don’t look, speak or believe as we do? Or people who do not love the way we think they should, or sexually identify in ways we cannot understand? Yes indeed, we will have plenty of opportunities to fail in the Kingdom Creed.
If you knew me, you would know that I am a huge fan of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. A choice quote from one of the unsung heroes of the tale. “Here in the wild I have you: two halflings, and a host of men at my call, and the Ring of Rings. A pretty stroke of fortune! A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his quality! I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs, Frodo son of Drogo.”
Here in the world, with the Holy Spirit at our call, a chance for all who would follow the LORD to show our quality. To take this “thing,” this creed of Kingdom living, for the good of even our enemies and those who would spitefully use us. For the glory of of all that is good and for the glory of God. Plenty of opportunities to fail, but a wish for such triumphs! Chances to show our quality. No, not chances, pretty strokes of fortune.