“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” –Matthew 7:12, NIV
Most of us know the Golden Rule, I think. But have you memorized the Bible words? Do you know where to find it? Jesus actually spoke the words, giving us this gem of advice for living life well: Do to others what you would have them do to you.
I came across this verse in a devotional I read this morning which triggered my desire to memorize its words. I invite you to learn them with me. And I invite you to put them into practice, if you don’t already do this. Jesus emphasized their importance—and the way they simplify life for us—in the last part of the verse: for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Just think about that! If we always do to others what we would have them do to us, we’ll always be doing what’s right in God’s eyes.
The wording of the verse in the NKJV can help us with the practical application, I think: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.” (Click here to read the whole verse in this version at BibleGateway.) In other words, if there is something that we really want someone else to do for us, we can find someone to do that for. We treat other people the way we’d like to be treated. We give what we long to receive.
For example, if the thought of receiving a card or letter in the mail appeals to you, send one to somebody else. If you wish someone would call and invite you to lunch, call and invite someone to join you for that meal. If you learn that someone has been saying unkind things about you behind your back, be sure that you aren’t talking that way about her or anyone else—and resist the temptation to start. Pray for that person instead, like you wish she would pray for you.
Is there a tedious chore you wish your husband would help you with or do for you as a surprise? Pick one that he usually does and do it while he is at work. (Don’t tell him that you did it or expect him to notice either. If he figures it out, that’s a bonus. Otherwise, see if you can get away with doing something kind without being caught!)
A few more ideas:
If your legs are healthy and you don’t have a lot to carry or children to keep track of, leave the closest parking places at the store for someone who may need them more.
Smile and say Hello to people as your paths cross; acknowledge their presence! Let them know they have been seen.
Show your gratitude to others for whatever they do for you as often as you can.
Do you get the idea? Do you have an idea of your own to share? Leave it in a comment for others to read. Let’s work together to make Matthew 7:12 the way we live!
Jesus, thank You for these precious words. Help us to remember them. Then help us to live them—creatively! As we recognize kindness and attitudes we wish others would show to us, help us discover ways to show these to others—especially to people in our lives who particularly need to feel Your love. Amen.