The Savior’s Sermon (Part 3)
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”Mathew 7:12
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If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Sharing is caring. Mind your manners. These are just some of the phrases that we use to teach children valuable lessons. Of all these lessons, there is one that is perhaps the most universal: the Golden Rule. As we all know, the Golden Rule states that we need to treat other people how we would like to be treated. While this is a common rule, many people would be surprised to find that it comes from the words of Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount.
Suddenly, what was once just a phrase for teaching children holds a lot more weight. The Golden Rule is not just a nice sentiment, it’s the Word of God. Jesus says that the Golden Rule “is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). In other words, loving others as we would like to be loved is the hub of God’s commands. This is closely related to 1 Peter 4:8, where Peter writes that “love covers a multitude of sins.” This teaching of Jesus is echoed later when Jesus answers a question about the greatest commandment. He says, “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 Prophets” (Matthew 22:36–40).
Clearly, the Golden Rule is pretty important, and following it doesn’t stop once we leave elementary school. We would like to believe that this simple rule we teach to small children would be second nature by the time we are adults. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. The Golden Rule is simultaneously simple and very complex, as it covers many things. Following the Golden Rule means not judging other people, putting the best construction on everything, and speaking kindly of them when they are not around. It means putting others before ourselves. It means forgiving people when they have wronged us. Following the Golden Rule is hard.
That’s when we can remember that we are unconditionally loved by Christ. We have been given grace upon grace and forgiveness beyond measure, because He loves us. Following the Golden Rule has little to do with how others deserve to be treated and everything to do with letting the love and grace we receive from God flow out and touch others.
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