Matthew 7:12-14 – “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. 13 Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is constricted that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
The golden rule had been stated in a negative form from other great Jewish teachers and some teachers outside of the Jewish community as well. Rabbi Hillel said, ‘do not do to your neighbor what is hateful to you.’ Confucius said: ‘Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you.’ Jesus was the first to give this teaching in a positive form. Jesus’ positive version of the formula represents a more demanding interpretation. To refrain from hurting someone is one thing; to be proactive in lending a helping hand is another. During his ministry, Jesus presented a story to get at the heart of the golden rule with the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35). Jesus says the aim of God’s teaching in the law and the prophets is to create a heart in us that when seeing someone in need, we are willing to sacrifice time, energy, and money to help get that person back on their feet regardless of their beliefs, worldview, ethnicity, etc.
Jesus sobers us saying the majority of people are going to choose to follow a path in life that puts their own interests first. Most people are not going to follow Jesus to the point of self-sacrifice. Most people want Jesus for what He can do for them but are not interested in denying themselves for what they can do for Him.
When your spouse does not treat you the way you want them to, is that your excuse not to treat them the way you know they want to be treated? When your boss, co-worker, neighbor does something wrong do you feel justified in treating them poorly? Because of Jesus’ grace, all of us get to choose daily to be conformed to the image of Christ or the image of the person we are dealing with. However, none of us gets to choose the consequences of the path we take. Jesus says if we work with him to overcome evil with good, the end is eternal life. He also soberly warns us that if we choose to pout, be a victim, and get revenge then the end of that life is destruction.