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Text Box: Exercise the Golden Rule


Text Box: (Matthew 7:12 NIV)  So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
(Leviticus 19:18 NIV)  Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
(Matthew 22:37-40 NIV)  Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
(Luke 6:35 NIV)  But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
(Luke 6:32-34 NIV)  If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that.  And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full.

Text Box: We have come full-circle in The Way of the Cross, The Sermon of the Mount. Jesus’ main point in chapter five was that our righteousness is to surpass that of the Pharisees because of our attitude as “Sons of our Father in Heaven”.  The fruit of this attitude produces a love that is based on our worthiness before God’s eyes and not based on the worthiness of anybody else.  This is perfect love (Matthew 5:48). The Prime Directive (Matthew 6:33) Jesus gave on chapter six gives us the spiritual second wind we need to come back towards this perfect way of loving—the exercising of The Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12).  
In our society we have many rules of conduct that have influenced our ways.  The might-makes-right rule has been followed by many who say in their behavior “whatever is your becomes mine just by taking it from you”.  A variation of this rule by today’s legal precedents declares whatever is legal is right.  The “might” in this case is the “law”.  People following this rule just say to themselves; “It’s all perfectly legal to do” and hunt for loopholes in the law to the end of benefiting themselves or justifying themselves.  
Another very popular rule is don’t get involved.  Just be an “innocent bystander”.  It’s not convenient to get involved if you have been a witness to a crime, an accident or a situation where you can be of some help.  It’s just too hard to call the police, lend a helping hand or some financial assistance.  The priest and the Levite in the Story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:27-37) certainly had this conviction!  According to Jesus, do you think they were on their way to receiving eternal life?
A more deceptive rule, and evermore popular, is one that poorly reflects the Golden Rule: Treat others just as they treat you.  It is an easy philosophy to live by, because it is passive.  Just react to people the way they act toward you.  This is the way “sinners” treat themselves, not the way Kingdom Citizens live (Luke 6:32-34).  This rule of the world has been dubbed The Silver Rule or The Gold-Plated Rule.  This rule is not even close to Jesus’ Golden Rule.  It does not go as far or as high.  It doesn’t even go half way.  The Golden Rule demands action, sensitivity to others and positive involvement in the lives of those in the Kingdom and those outside the Kingdom.  It is a proactive way of thinking that promotes godly influences within the Body of Christ, the Kingdom of God.

In His Footsteps © 1998                                                    






Text Box: Exercise the Golden Rule



Read Matthew 7:12.  What must you keep in mind when relating to others?  Should we have this mindset sometimes?  In some things?  What are you fulfilling when you practice this Golden Rule?  Read Philippians 2:3,4.  Should your reasons for doing something be out of selfish ambition?  Should your reasons for doing something be “just because you want to do it” (vain conceit = useless pride), without concern for what someone else may think or feel?  Is forcing yourself or your ways (opinions) on someone else, just because it is “your way”, a good way of nurturing a relationship? What should be your guiding principle for what you do in your relationships?  The Golden Rule causes us to want to see other people’s viewpoints first, before considering our own.  What they would like, what is important to the other person, etc.  Are you using the Golden Rule if you form a judgement or get an attitude against someone without ever speaking to that person (Ecclesiastes 7:20-22; Romans 2:1-24)?  Should our judgement toward others be solely based on people’s opinions, without just cause or without a good dose of self-examination? How should we judge then (Matthew 7:1-6 remember lesson #30 on Self-Examination, p.59)?



True love is not always easy.  It sometimes hurts, especially when you have to correct someone, to tell them the truth about something they are doing or being to others and yourself that is ungodly.  Read Proverbs 27:5, 6, 17.  If you really care about someone, what do you do when the person sins before you?  How should you receive a rebuke?  Would you rather receive an open rebuke or false compliments and flattery?  A godly relationship is one where you sharpen each other in love and gentleness.  True love causes us to be assertive and confront situations, not be passive and avoid them. What is the proper way of confronting someone in love?  Read Matthew 18:15-17. Should you complain to someone else about a sin being done to you?  Who should be the first person you speak to?  Should you approach them in anger or in gentleness (2 Thessalonians 3:14, 15)?  What happens if they don’t listen to you and continue in their sin?  Read Romans 16:17-19.  What if someone causes division by their lack of repentance?  Are these people usually opinionated or are they submissive to the ways of Jesus?  Are they into loving you or flattering you?  What should you do, fellowship and entertain them, or keep away from them?  Why should we not associate with a brother/sister, other than to encourage them to repent, who continues in sin (2 Thessalonians 3:14)?



Applying the Golden Rule means we need to be trustworthy and not betray other’s confidence.  This way you build relationships based on trust and mutual respect (1 Corinthians 13:7).  Spreading slander or gossip, even about politics or cases in the news is not the way to build trust in each other and love each other with the truth (1 Peter 4:8).   All this is godless chatter that doesn’t build up the relationships you have in the Body of Christ, it just makes you more ungodly (1 Timothy 6:20, 21; 2 Timothy 2:15, 16).  What should you be doing with others instead of spreading your opinions?  Let’s look at Ephesians 4:22-32.  When you are sounding more like yourself than like Jesus, what’s happening?  What does “being made new” mean (verses 26-32)?  Should you lie about your sin or try to justify it? Should you be talking about unnecessary things that may make someone uncomfortable?  Should you put people on the spot?  Remember that the rule of thumb here is The Golden Rule—creating trustworthy relationships that radiate confidence in Jesus.  Verse 28 brings up something interesting.  What do people usually do when they’re not getting busy with their lives in the Kingdom and are instead, busybodies?  Read 2 Thessalonians 3:10-15; 1 Timothy 5:13.  Is this a good example of the saying Idle hands are the devil’s workshop? Loving one another is about making yourself useful to others, not being dependent on others (being a burden) but on Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12; Galatians 6:1-6).  Can you help carry each other’s burdens if you yourself are being a burden?



Coarse joking or putting people down in front of others is not the Golden Rule either.  Read Ephesians 5:1-12.  Who should you imitate?  Should you offend someone with your improper opinions or language?  Should you offend someone with your off color jokes?  Is it even proper to subject someone to films or music that promote impurity, obscenity or any godless or foolish thing?  Should you be partners with anyone who holds onto these things (verse 7, 11) rather than onto God’s Word and the fruit of the Spirit?  Is sensitivity to other’s feelings and emotions necessary to build trusting and loving relationships (Romans 14:1-23)?  Be careful not to be offensive and not to be a stumbling block (1 Corinthians 8:9-13).  What does Jesus say about stumbling stones (Luke 17:2-4)?  Be sensitive in bereavement and sensitive towards sickness or destitution.  Don’t ever expect to be entertained without the truth or for you to be treated as the entertainer apart from the truth.  1 Timothy 6:3-5 talks about people who like to quarrel and are opinionated.  Is this a way to follow the Golden Rule?  Who likes to air their own opinion (Proverbs 18:2)?



Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.  How should your relationships be with those of the opposite sex?  Should this passage affect how you dress and what you say among your brothers and sisters?  How should you treat older women, older men, brothers and sisters (1 Timothy 5:1, 2)?  Should you be looking down on anyone (Matthew 18:10)?  Should you behave in a way that would cause others to look down upon you (1 Timothy 4:12)?


Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.--Leviticus 19:18


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