Jesus gave us the Golden Rule, yes to live by, but more specifically to love by. He commanded, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7:12, NIV)
This is probably the most famous command Jesus ever gave. His Sermon on the Mount reaches its high point in this verse. This is a rule about loving someone in the ways we would hope others would love us.
Let’s be clear, when we love like Jesus commanded, relationships are better. When relationships are better, life is better. So let’s look at five ways to love by, the Golden Rule…
- Forgive as you wish to be forgiven. Jesus taught us to pray this prayer, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12) The highest form of love is to forgive a grievance. The greatest expression of this forgiveness, the act that made forgiveness permissible, was Christ’s willing sacrifice on the cross to pay for our sins and secure our forgiveness before God. Colossians 3:13 says, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” God has forgiven you. Why? Because he loves you. How do you love your spouse, you children, your co-worker or boss, that fellow student? You forgive them when their words or actions hurt you.
- Help as you wish to be helped. Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other.” Love is translated by action. When you see someone with a need, fill it. It could be as simple as taking out the trash when you see the can full or helping your child tie her shoe. But it could also involve more, like supporting a spouse as they go back to school for continuing education. This can be expressed at work as you help someone with a project or at school as you help someone pick up the books they dropped in the hall.
- Encourage as you wish to be encouraged. Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily.” We want others to encourage us, to believe that we could become all that God made us to be. We want this from others, so Jesus says, “Give it to others.” People want to be encouraged. The world is filled with people who want to be more for God, but who are discouraged and in need of encouragement. Ben Franklin once said, “Most men die from the neck up at age twenty-five because they stop dreaming.” Let’s not let those around us give up on the dreams God gives. Let’s encourage them with our words and support.
- Understand as you wish to be understood. Recently I learned of a friend who got in a lot of trouble because of a sin in his life. My first thought, “how could they do that?!” But then God reminded me, that though I have never been in trouble like that, I have had sinful inclinations and have the same capacity for failure in my life. It is only by the Grace of God that I have thus far gone a different path. Jesus said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone.” (John 8:7) When I am more understanding I am humble and able to love with greater compassion. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and love them as you would wish to be loved in the same situation.
- Look for things to do to lift and bless those around you. Philippians 2:4 says, “look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Make it your mission in life to scout out ways you can lift and bless people you know and meet. Wake up each day asking God to use you to bless someone else with something good. Live your life outside yourself. If you do this, you will become a powerfully loving person that attracts people to you.
The Golden Rule is all about love. Live by it and your life will become richer.
Question: How can loving in obedience to the Golden Rule bring greater satisfaction to your own life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.