Merciful God, in Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, You give good gifts to Your children, the gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation. Teach us to give the gift of love and mercy to our neighbors so that we may do unto others as we wish them to do unto us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
New Testament Reading: Matthew 7:1-12 (ESV)
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The golden rule is something our world is familiar with. Jesus was not the first to say it, though He is the first and only to fulfill it. The golden rule is commonly heard in business and politics as a Utopian ideal of how we ought to govern ourselves for the greater good of our fellow man and corporate life together. History and experience show that we fail at this rule miserably whether in politics, religion, business or home life.
What’s lost on the world is the context from which this rule is spoken in the Holy Scriptures. It is spoken from the mouth of the Savior. He takes this ancient wisdom, teaches it, and then exemplifies it in His life of service, sacrifice, and resurrection. The world will not truly understand this rule until it understands Him. Jesus is the only One who did not do as others did to Him, but rather treated them as He would have had them treat Him and all people.
We treated the Savior shamefully. He came and preached peace, love, and graciousness. We responded with nails and wood. We even spat in His face. His Word and response to us though was not as we deserved. He treated us as we should have treated Him and certainly He deserved the higher honor as the sinless Son of God. We ought to have blessed and honored His name. Yet, He blessed us when we cursed Him. He forgave us when we condemned Him. He was patient towards us when we hid Him away in a tomb out of our sight. He is the fulfillment of His own teaching. He offered His own life as a sacrifice for our sin and served us with mercy giving us God’s unmerited forgiveness.
That’s how the Christian desires to be treated, not according to his sins, but according to the grace and loving kindness of Jesus. So, the Christian also in humble repentance likewise seeks to treat his neighbor as Christ has treated him; with love, service, patience, forgiveness, and grace.
SDG-Rev. Eric M. Estes