Why I’m re-thinking the so-called “Golden Rule”…

Untitled.002We have all heard of the Golden Rule.
The heart of this well known phrase can be experienced in most cultures and religions.

-Matthew 7: 12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.”
-“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” Number 13 of Imam
-Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga 5:18
-This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain
if done to you. Mahabharata 5:1517
-“What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the
law: all the rest is commentary.” Talmud, Shabbat 31a.

It appears, on the heart of the Golden Rule, people from different cultural and religious backgrounds can agree on one standard truth.
It may appear at first glance that this “rule” is one shared by everyone.

But it’s not. 

As a follower of Jesus we need to know Jesus never called this text the “Golden Rule.” The phrase “Golden Rule” was added during the 16th—17th centuries. Verse 12 is really the result of us living out verses 7-11. You can read them here. 

There’s a little word in the beginning of verse 12 that certain translations don’t posses. Its the word “so.”
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them…”(ESV)

John Piper shares about the importance of this little word:

”…if you really experience the truth of verses 7-11—the assurance that your heavenly Father meets all your real needs—you will have the inner freedom and impulse to live the Golden Rule: to do the good to others that you would like them to do for you;”


“All of that is implied in the word so…the reason the Golden Rule fulfills the law and prophets is that it assumes the love of verse 12 is all flowing from faith in the work of Jesus Christ to ransom us by his blood and secure for us God’s mercy and everlasting Fatherhood.”

The Golden Rule is not a “rule” but the direct result of us treasuring our heavenly Father who meets all our needs. THEN and ONLY THEN can we live for others. John adds that if our living for others flows from trusting in our Father, we will fulfill all that the law and the prophets were aiming for.

You see…its not a rule. Its a picture of the cross.
The Golden Rule is our response to Christ’s sacrifice.

It’s us being willing to pay a price.
To give up what we want for what HE wants.
For what’s best not for us, but for others.

We get the privilege of putting others first and not living for ourselves because He first payed the ultimate price for us.

The heart of the “Golden Rule” is found in no other culture or religion other than Christianity…all because of Jesus. 

That is why I’m rethinking the so-called “Golden Rule,” because for so long I thought it was about me when it’s really about Him.

The Golden Rule is: “…the nearest approach to absolute love of which human nature is capable.”
-Edersheim, Hebrew Christian scholar


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