“And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:39-40
It might seem strange, but I still remember a very important day in Kindergarten. That’s when my teacher taught us the Golden Rule, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” From the back of the room, one classmate interjected, “I want people to beat me up.” As funny (and disturbing!) as this moment was, it blew my five-year-old mind!
“Is this truly what Jesus intended when he spoke these words?” Occasionally, Jesus gives us statements intended to summarize God’s Law. Jesus’ instruction to love God and love others is potentially the most memorable. But what does that mean to love others? Do we simply think good thoughts about people? Or is there something more?
The Golden Rule illuminates an important aspect of loving others. We love people by action. We love people by treating them the way we would want to be treated. Perhaps it would be helpful for us to consider the opposite way: we treat others the way we want to be treated by loving them. This is especially important today. Many Christians are proficient at saying that they love people, yet in the same breath they tear down an individual or an entire community of people.
As we commune with God this week, let’s ask what our love looks like. Is it just a word game? Or is it a pattern of treating people with compassion and dignity?
Father, please soften my heart. Help me see people the way You see them—with tenderness. May my life model your tenderness not just in words but in action. Amen.
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