Once, a lady was bitten by a dog with rabies. Her minister, knowing that hydrophobia was an incurable disease, called on her and tactfully suggested that she write down her last wishes before the vicious disease took its toll. She agreed and began writing while he waited. She wrote and wrote and wrote. Finally, the preacher inquired about the document. “That’s a rather long will, isn’t it?”
The lady replied, “Who’s writing a will? This is a list of all the people I intend to bite!”
Have you ever heard of the Golden Rule? It states, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is derived from the words of Jesus in Luke 6:31, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Simply put, we should do things to and for other people that we, in turn, would like done to and for us. However, as much as we might not like to admit it, that is often easier said than done.
In recent times, you may have heard what some call the “New and Improved Golden Rule.” It states, “Do unto others before they do unto you.” Sound familiar? Perhaps, the reason this rule is so popular is that it appeals to one’s sense of selfishness. In other words, “It is far easier to put my interests above yours, and if that means hurting you before you hurt me, then so be it.”
However, this attitude is not what Jesus Christ taught. He not only said in Matthew 22:39, “... You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” but He also taught to, “... love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” in Matthew 5:44. Now, I do not know about you, but I sometimes find that incredibly hard to do. Sure, it is easy to love those who are loveable, but it is as hard as a brick wall to love those who do not return or even accept our love for them. Nevertheless, loving both the loveable and the not-so-loveable might just give us a glimpse into the mind of Christ who loves the whole world but is not loved by the whole world.
The lesson we must learn and apply is simple. Jesus wants us to have the same selfless, unconditional love for others that He had nearly 2,000 years ago when He died on a cross for you and me. All it takes from us is an attitude change. So, by which rule will you live your life?
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