Any believer reading Luke 6.27-36 would probably agree with my personal assessment: Are you serious, Lord? This is incredibly hard! Lord, You will have to help me, cause I sure can’t love like this without you!
In the middle of Jesus’ declaration about loving others He gives what is commonly referred to as The Golden Rule – “as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” (Luke 6.31).
The Golden Rule’s Requirement
It does not promote “back-scratching behavior” – You scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours.
It does not promote “pre-emptive behavior” – Do unto others before they do unto you.
It does not promote “wait-and-see behavior” – If and when you treat me right, then I’ll do likewise.
It does not promote “hidden-agenda behavior” – I’ll do good to you so that I can get from you what I want later.
No, the Golden Rule has two fundamental requirements:
It requires us to be proactive
One commentator writes, “In its negative form, the Golden Rule could be satisfied by doing nothing. The positive form moves us to action on behalf of others.”
A person living in a coma does not steal, lie or lust and neither does he curse, get angry or start a fight. But, the same person never lends a helping hand, never gives a compliment, never encourages, and never offers a shoulder to cry on.
Therefore, the Golden Rule is not simply a command to avoid unfair treatment that you would not want to receive. Rather, it is a command to give the same sensitive consideration to others that you would want others to give to you.
It requires us to be sensitive
This doesn’t mean that, if you’re quirky and want to be treated quirkily, that you should treat others with you quirks. The rule assumes the note of concern and describes a love that is sensitive to others and aware of their preferences. It could be paraphrased like this: “As you wish to be treated with sensitivity to your preferences, so treat others with sensitivity to their preferences.”
How we treat others is not to be determined by how we expect them to treat us or by how we think they should treat us, but by how we want them to treat us.
You want to be forgiven? Forgive!
You need affirmation? Affirm!
You feel hurt, wounded, broken and could stand a gentle touch? Be gentle with others!
You appreciate tact? Be tactful!
You enjoy a nice compliment? Compliment others!
If you suddenly found yourself in the minority for whatever reason (race, religion, educational status), how would you want the majority to treat you? Then treat the minority the same way when you are in the majority.
Do you want people to think and speak well of you? Do the same.
Do you want people to be critical and faultfinding toward you? Then don’t be that way toward them.
Do you want people to give you the benefit of the doubt? Then give them the same benefit.
Do you want to be loved and respected? Give others the same.
Do you want people praying for you? Pray for them.
Do you want people to tell you the truth? Tell them likewise.
The Golden Rule’s Restrictions
Guess what? There aren’t any! It’s not limited to family, but it certainly includes them. It’s not limited to your church family, but it certainly includes them. It’s not limited to God’s people, but it certainly includes them. It even includes your enemies (6.27-30)!
Paying taxes enables you to fulfill your public debt. Paying your bills allows you to pay off your private debt. However, your primary debt, loving others, is a debt you never finish making payments! That’s what Romans 13.8 teaches: Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
The Golden Rule’s Replication
A “replica” is a copy or model of something, especially one on a smaller scale. The Eiffel Tower stands 1063 feet in Paris, France. I’ve never seen it. However, I have been to the King’s Dominion theme park in Richmond, VA, which has a 1/3-scale replica. And, I bought a 1000th scale model from the souvenir shop back when I was a kid!
When the Golden Rule is merely “replicated” is produces what I’m calling Whoopi-do Love. So, you love those who love you? Whoopi-do! Sinners do that! So, you do good to those who do good to you? Whoopi-do! Sinners do that! So you lend money when there are no risks involved? Whoopi-do! Sinners do that!
Bottom line: Golden Rule love (kingdom love) is not everyday, mundane, run-of-the-mill, sinners-do-that-too love!
The Golden Rule’s Reward
Note: Unselfish, kingdom, Golden Rule love does NOT make you a child of God; it proves you are one (35a,b).
There’s the reward of knowing you are being obedient to Scripture and the Lord. There may be the reward of a greater capacity to enjoy Heaven. There’s the reward of being recognized as the sons and daughters of God!
The Golden Rule’s Reflection
When you and I flesh out the Golden Rule we give a “reflection” of our God who wants us to model His treatments of “others” (35c-36).
Notice the parallel between verses 35-36 and Ephesians 4.35-5.2… “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us….”
When you look in the mirror do you see a reflection of the Lord and how He loves?