I find the placement of the “Golden Rule” a little jarring in Matthew. It doesn’t seem to quite fit, particularly with the “Therefore” at the beginning of it. I suppose it’s pointing back to the totality of Jesus’ message up to that point.
In Luke, the placement of this rule is much more seamless. It comes right after Jesus talks about loving your enemies, doing good to those who hate you, blessing those who curse you, praying for those who mistreat you, not responding to insult with insult, and being generous.
Jesus sums all of this up by saying,
Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)
In other cultures, we see a similar rule. “Don’t do to others what you would not like them to do to you.” What is the main difference between this rule and the one Jesus gave?
Jesus’ rule is much harder to do. It actually requires action. It’s relatively easy not to do evil to another. Just avoid them. If you never deal with them, there’s no way you can do evil to them.
But you can’t do good to another while avoiding all contact with them. You actually have to do something. To reach out. Even though they hate you. Even though they insult you. Even though they try to take advantage of you.
That’s hard. But that’s the kind of people God calls us to be.
As God’s child, it is not enough to just not do evil. God calls us to do good. To be a light, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. To be salt that flavors the world around us. And what better way is there to do that than to do good to those who don’t deserve it.
It’s the kind of love that this world finds hard to understand and almost impossible to do (if not impossible).
But a Christian who is plugged into Jesus can. Why? Because the love of Jesus is being poured into their lives to the point that it simply must overflow to those around them.
How about you? Are you simply avoiding doing evil? Or are you going out with the love Jesus has poured into your life and touching the people around you?