We probably know it as the Golden Rule; a general rule for how to behave in community. Jesus calls it the Law and the Prophets in Matthew 7:12. The Sermon on the Mount introduces citizens of the kingdom of God to a new way of life. “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” In Luke 6:31 Doctor Luke simples says “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” The Golden Rule is; therefore, a general guiding principle that that simply states; treat others the way you would want them to treat you. If I want others to be kind and gentle to me when I err, I should be kind and gentle to others when they err.

When Jesus talked of the Law and the Prophets Leviticus 19:17-18 is in view You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” The ancients had some form of the Golden Rule beside the OT Scripture. Isocrates is credited with saying, “You should be such in your dealings with others as you expect me to be in my dealings with you.”[1] According to Jacobs, the Golden Rule is “A maxim or rule of ethical conduct advocating a reciprocal relationship . . .  “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt 7:12 NIV; compare Luke 6:31).”[2] Commenting on Luke 6:31 Dr. David Jeremiah of Turning Point observes in The Jeremiah Study Bible “Years before Christ Rabbi Hillel was said to have instructed his pupils that they should not do to others what they did not want done to themselves.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus, the new Rabbi in town, lays down the divine standards for how children of the kingdom should then and forever live their lives, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them,” (Matt. 7:12; Luke 6:31). At the time Jesus was instructing his disciples it was customary to treat others in direct relation to how it benefits oneself. Jesus said as children of the kingdom that is not how we should treat other human beings. It is evident from Jesus’ new commandment in Matt. 22:37-40 that Jesus had in mind love as the foundation on which the Golden Rule should be practiced. He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

We can conclude Jesus wanted the disciples to put the interest of others first. He demonstrated the Golden Rule in his own life – he put the interest of the disciples and our own interest first. That is how Paul saw it and so said in Phil. 2:4-11, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

I am confident Jesus would hardly recognized how we relate and deal with others in the church today let alone in the larger society because we are mostly driven in our relationships and dealings with others by what benefits “US” and not the other person. The Golden Rule is how the church can truly put to practice the standards for morals and ethics in our society today. It is about time we do not only lament about what is going wrong in our world; it is high time we treat everyone made in the image of God exactly how we will want others to treat us. It is what Jesus expects of His church - us. Listen, if we run our mouth by insulting and putting down others, we will be treated in the same way back. So what is it going to be believer? It is important we begin to live according to the rule of the kingdom of God and not according to the rule of the kingdom of man.

              [1]Raymond F. Collins, “Golden Rule,” The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary.

              [2]Timothy L. Jacobs, “Golden Rule,” The Lexham Bible Dictionary.