Love is action, so how do we love others in a practical way? In Matthew 7:12 Jesus tells us how: “Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” You are to treat others as you want to be treated. This is Golden Rule and it is the pinnacle of all Christian ethics, the application of Christian love. It is distinct from Confucius’ version, “Do not do unto others what you would not have done to yourself”, which allows for passivity and outright indifference. While this tells us what not to do, it does not tell us what we should do. It is also different from “Treat others as they treat you”. This one is reactive. It tells us we can be kind to others only when they are kind to us and doing nasty things to us warrants retaliation. By contrast, Jesus’ command is proactive. To love like Jesus, we should treat others in the same way that we want to be treated—regardless of whether or not the person deserves it, expecting nothing in return. For example, if you want to be treated with respect, you must treat others with respect. If you want to be treated with kindness, you must be kind to others, too.
What then will enable us to love like Jesus? The key here is our relationship with Him. If you are not secured in your relationship with Him, if you are not convinced that God desires to lavish you with every good thing (Matthew 7:7-11), you cannot treat others right because your natural tendency is to protect and serve yourself. In other words, God is telling us, “I, your Heavenly Father, will take care of you. Therefore, you can be nice to others.”
A perfect example for this is Isaac. In Genesis 26, the herdsmen of Gerar contended with Isaac’s servants over the well that they dug again, since it had been previously filled in by the Philistines. To prevent further contention, Isaac ordered his servants to dig another well. But the men of Gerar contended with them over it, too. Then they moved away and dug another well and finally, they did not quarrel over it so Isaac named it Rehoboth saying, “At last the LORD has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.” (Genesis 26:18-22)
Now what made Isaac treat them well? In the previous chapters, we see that Isaac has always experienced God’s faithfulness and provision. When Abraham was about to offer him as a sacrifice, God provided a ram in his place (Genesis 22). During a famine in the land, Isaac was tempted to go down to Egypt but the Lord commanded him to stay and promised that He would be with him and bless him. Isaac did and the Lord honored his obedience. So Isaac, ”sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the LORD blessed him, and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy…” (Genesis 26:12-13)
Isaac’s faith was not in the land nor in the well but in his Heavenly Father who is able and faithful to provide. In the end, even his enemies recognized God’s hand upon him, saying, “We see plainly that the LORD has been with you… You are now the blessed of the LORD.’” (Genesis 26:28-29)/p>
In the same way, we can love like Jesus because of the assurance that God will take care of us. We are ambassadors of God on earth, the visible body of Christ. Most of the time, people will not see the love of God apart from His people. That’s why Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
How do you want yourself to be treated? Treat others in that same manner. The Bible tells us to “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4) Look for Golden Rule Moments this week, then others will see the love of Jesus in you!