Matthew 7:12

  • 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

    How we treat others is not to be determined by how we expect them to treat us or by how we think they should treat us, but by how we want them to treat us. Herein is the heart of the principle, an aspect of the general truth that is not found in similar expressions in other religions and philosophies.

    For many years the basic instrument of music was the harpsichord. As its keys are depressed, a given string is plucked to create the desired note, much as a guitar string is plucked with a pick. But the tone made in that way is not pure, and the mechanism is relatively slow and limiting.

    Sometime during the last quarter of the eighteenth century, during Beethoven’s lifetime, an unknown musician modified the harpsichord so that the keys activated hammers that struck, rather than plucked, the strings. With that minor change, a major improvement was made that would henceforth radically enhance the entire musical world, giving a grandeur and breadth never before known. That is the sort of revolutionary change Jesus gives in the golden rule.

    Every other form of this basic principle had been given in purely negative terms, and is found in the literature of almost every major religion and philosophical system. The motivation is basically selfish-refraining from harming others in order that they will not harm us. Those negative forms of the rule are not golden, because they are primarily utilitarian and motivated by fear and self-preservation.

    Selfless love does not serve in order to prevent its own harm or to insure its own welfare. It serves for the sake of the one being served, and serves in the way it likes being served-whether it ever receives such service or not. That level of love is the divine level, and can be achieved only by divine help. Only God’s children can have right relations with others, because they possess the motivation and the resource to refrain from self-righteously condemning others and to love in an utterly selfless way.

    Generous Father, you have blessed me with so many rich and wonderful gifts. I can never ever adequately express to you the thanks you deserve. One thing I want you to know, dear Father, is that I especially appreciate the way you have treated me with grace and not with justice or judgment. Give me the power to do the same with the people my life touches this week.
    In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.