Most of us are familiar with this famous line. Chances are, you can recite it in your sleep. Ready? All together now…. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…” This was probably one of the first things that you were taught to memorize as a child. It’s the same with all of us. And many people point out that most of the world’s religions use the Golden Rule as a basic tenet of their belief system.
Basically, those same people believe that all religions are pretty much the same and that they all hinge on the Golden Rule principle. All of them except Christianity – because those of us who are Christians depend on Jesus Christ – and recognize His authority as the God of the Universe. So what’s the real deal with the Golden Rule? Does it appear in the Bible? And if so, what does it really mean?
Before I answer that question, I want to make sure that I make it quite clear that many of the world’s religions are similar. And part of that is the perception that they all extol the virtue of treating others the way you would like to be treated. Whether we are talking about Buddha, Mohammed, or even Ghandi for that matter, each of these leaders and teachers made sure that they subscribed to the basic ideology of mutual respect. While Jesus believed in these same conditions of mutual respect, the real difference in Christianity from the other religions is what Jesus did – not what He taught. Because He is the only leader who was crucified and raised from the dead…
In fact, if Jesus had not risen from the tomb, Christianity most likely would have died along with Him. It is the almost unbelievable resurrection experience that solidified Christianity as a religion set apart from all the others.
So back to the question about the Golden Rule. Does it appear in the Bible? The answer is a resounding “YES.” It can be found in the Gospel of Matthew, in the 7th chapter. It happens to follow several verses on how much God cares for us and loves us. It is wedged into a small section right before the comments about entering heaven through the “narrow gate.”
So tonight’s verse is, in fact, the Golden Rule. In Matt. 7:12, we are told, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” My encouragement this evening is to let you know that God does care for us and wants to honor us with those things that are consistent with His will for our lives. My prayer is that you will go through life treating others as you would like to be treated, understanding that while this is important, the most important thing you can know is that Christianity is different than the other religions. Because God loved us so much that He sacrificed His Son for our sins, and no other leader in the history of the world has ever done that; and come back from the dead.
Have a great day in the Lord; grace and peace…