Most of us have probably heard them from our parents, grandparents, teachers, and other authoritative figures. Those admonishing words of what we know as the ‘golden rule’: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Yet there are times when I wonder if somewhere along the line we heard, “Do unto others before they do unto you.” It certainly seems that way sometimes, doesn’t it?
Some cynically refer to the world we live in as a “dog-eat-dog world;” one in which it is every man for himself. We do what we do to get ahead regardless of who gets hurt, bruised, broken, or whatever else in the process. Yet the Christian is called to a higher standard of living (see Ephesians 4:22-24). Though we live in a secular world with an individualistic mindset, on matters of morality, ethics, and principle, we are expected to rise above the mediocrity of societal standards and demonstrate a life made different by our relationship with God (Romans 12:2; 1 Thess. 4:1). We are expected to be mindful of the way we treat others, always bearing in mind that we are representing not just ourselves, but the Lord Jesus Christ.
Of course, that is easier said than done. Nevertheless, it is something we are called to do. Jesus taught, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, AMP). That ‘light’ is the way we live our lives including the way we treat other people. Jesus affirmed, “By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another” (John 13:35, AMP). He was not just referring to brother love among His followers or the people we are friends with, but the principle of loving even those we might deem insignificant, extremely annoying, or unlovable. He made this point when He taught, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. . . . whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (Matthew 25:40, 45, KJV). Why? Because we will never meet another person who was not created in the image of God. It is still often challenging to live out the Golden Rule, but every believer is called to this responsibility and the power of Christ has made it possible for us to succeed (John 15:5).
How are you treating those around you? If they treated you the way you are treating them, would you see Jesus in their actions?