A Message from Pastor Dewey
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
The Golden Rule. Jesus says it in the Bible (Luke 6:31), but you don’t have to go to church or look at a Bible to have heard it. I learned it from my mother. In fact, over the course of my lifetime, I’ve heard it quoted by numerous people. It is not unique to Christianity. In fact, it is akin to what Jesus called the second greatest commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Similar principles are found in religions all over the world.
It is a good rule to follow. But if we take it simply at face value, out of its Biblical context, we miss the complete message that Jesus was trying to convey.
In the passage from Luke, Jesus goes on to say, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.”
Now, that’s a whole different ballgame.
In simple terms, the Golden Rule is about kindness. What Jesus is talking about goes beyond just kindness. It is about mercy.
None of the merciful things Jesus tells us to do are easy, but the last two are easier. I suspect that each of us has had an opportunity to be altruistic at some point in our lives, doing good and expecting nothing in return. And if you have teenagers, you know what it’s like to lend money and expect nothing in return.
But what about our enemies? I think that is a word that most of us are not comfortable with. When I think about enemies, I think about the relationship between Batman and the Joker. But what if we think about it in the context of someone who doesn’t share the same opinions we do? All of a sudden, my list just got longer.
For most of us, mercy is not the first thing that comes to mind when we think about our “enemies.” After all, if they’re our enemies, they likely haven’t shown us any mercy. But Jesus was clear in his message, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” There is no more Christ-like example to follow than to show love to those who do not love you.
If we are going to have any hope of solving the problems our world is facing these days, it will only be if we can learn to embrace the fuller message of the Golden Rule. Let us do our best to do our part. And let us pray that mercy will ultimately rule the day.