Tuesday, June 27, 2023

The “Golden Rule” Challenges Us

Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

Here we have quite a succinct statement from Jesus regarding how we should treat one another. We know from other statements (see e.g. Matthew 22:36-40) that Jesus preaches the intrinsic and inseparable relationship between the love of God (“the greatest and the first commandment”) and the love of neighbor as one’s self (the “second” commandment, which is “like” the first). Later, in His final teaching to His disciples, Jesus reveals the profundity of this integration: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

We are challenged to get up every morning and go forth and really love our neighbors, to actually care about the people who are given to us within the fabric of daily life with an attention and affection that corresponds to how we regard ourselves. This is much harder than we imagine it to be. Still, most of us try to fool ourselves into thinking we’re “pretty good” at it. But we’re not.

The good news is that Jesus has loved us first. His love empowers us to grow in love for one another, if we remember Him, if we ask Him for His mercy, if we live from His love, trusting in His love.