8th February 2019

A Phrase to Live By 

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:12 (NIVUK)

Surely, this sounds like common sense. We should do to others what we’d like others to do to us. Therefore, if we like to receive mercy, let’s give mercy to others. If we like to be forgiven, let’s forgive.

Many Christian teachers call the above verse the Golden Rule. Jesus is re-phrasing a well-known saying, and he gives it a new slant. The Jewish community would have recognised the wording from the apocryphal book of Tobit, which states “Do that to no man which thou hatest” (https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Tobit-4-15/), and the Rabbi Hillel had said, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour: that is the whole Torah” (from page 287 of Kenneth E. Bailey’s Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes, published by SPCK in London, 2008).

Jesus takes these negative phrases and turns them into a positive statement. Jesus introduces it by the word “so,” meaning “therefore,” implying a summation of all he has said so far in his Sermon on the Mount. He is giving his definitive view. The Law in its highest form is not so much about what you don’t do, rather it’s more about what you do, and how your actions and reactions reflect who you are inside. If you’re looking for spiritual meaning in the Old Testament, it’s more about mercy and loving your enemies than it is about all the jots and tittles that the scribes and Pharisees treasured so much. These were strong words from Jesus and, in saying them, he challenged the received wisdom of the status quo.

Let’s take the opportunity, both actively and proactively, to follow Jesus and to put his words into practice in our daily lives. Irrespective of how others may treat us, let’s do to others what we would have them do to us, and thus show the unconditional love of our Lord.

Prayer
Holy Father, help me please through your Spirit to be gracious to others in all that I do, and to treat them with the same loving generosity with which I would like to be treated. In Jesus
name.
Amen
 

Study by James Henderson

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About the Author:
James Henderson is the European Superintendent of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
james.henderson@gracecom.church
Or email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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