The Golden Rule
This week in the news was a fascinating feel good story, which was nice in the face of the heart-wrenching difficult stories such as the Ebola outbreak in Africa and the ISIS beheadings in the Middle East. This feel-good story happened in St. Petersburg, Florida at a Starbucks where one woman in the drive-thru line decided to pay for the person’s order in the car behind her. The man behind her felt compelled to do the same thing for the person behind him. And so the chain of “pay-it-forward” purchases continued for about 11 hours, over 450 customers. That’s pretty amazing! It gives you hope that maybe, just maybe, we can live by the golden rule to treat other people the way you want to be treated.
That’s the passage we’re considering this morning. We say it in our house with regularity, though it doesn’t seem to happen like the St. Petersburg story. In our house I’m convinced that some key words get filtered out. Instead of hearing “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them…”, we hear, “So whatever others do to you, do also to them…” Hmmm. (Amazing how a word here or there can change the whole meaning…)
In any case, it is a radically simple idea – “whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” It is what Jesus teaches us to do. It is the principle, Jesus teaches, that ought to guide your every action. And yet, it is so hard to do!
So what is the key to living this way? The key is the found in the phrase that follows the teaching: “for this is the Law and the Prophets.” This is what we need to examine in light of the context. So what is this law and the prophets?