“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”
The quote above comes from the last verse assigned as the gospel passage for today’s service of Daily Morning Prayer, Matthew 7:1-12. I’m fairly convinced this verse falls into the “simple, not easy” category of Holy Scripture.
Jesus has a number of these admonishments throughout the gospels but this one is perhaps the most difficult to undertake. This concept has been called the “Golden Rule” and this ethic of reciprocity is one that a number of the world’s major religions seem to have in common, as a base or core teaching at one moment or another. But man, oh man is this a difficult one to pull off, isn’t it?
The word that caught my ear as I read this passage, and this verse in particular, was the word, “everything.” Jesus is raising the bar and raising it to an extreme…as Jesus tends to do. Not sometimes, or when you feel like it, or every now and again, or if the other person has earned it should we treat them like we’d want to be treated, but in EVERYTHING do to others as you’d have them do to you. Simple; not easy…but necessary.
The problem, I think, is that we don’t tend to see very many examples of this type of behavior out in the world, do we? Sure, every now and again we witness someone living into this “Golden Rule,” but certainly not with the consistency and regularity of “In everything you do…” that Jesus requires of us.
So here’s the challenge for the week ahead: strive for this teaching. Notice and become aware when you are treating someone this way, and especially when someone else seems to be treating you with this same maxim in mind. And, do so knowing that when you are behaving this way, you are changing the world, living more fully into the teaching of Jesus while you are participating in the very in-breaking of the Kingdom of God. Simple; not easy…but holy work indeed.
In Christ’s name,