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The Golden Rule

Matthew 7:12

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In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets.

Matthew 7:12 NET

How should you treat other people? Jesus answered that with what has come to be known as the Golden Rule – treat others the way you want them to treat you. This “rule” was not unique to Jesus. Most ethical systems throughout history have had something similar, although often expressed negatively–don’t do something to someone else you don’t want them to do to you.

But Jesus went beyond just teaching his disciples (Matt. 5:1-2) how they should treat each other. He told them they would fulfill the law and the prophets if they did this. The law and prophets have much to say about how we should treat each other. Six of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:12-17) deal with human relationships. And the rest of the law expands on that.

But in the Golden Rule, we are given a summary of the ethical commands of the law and the prophets. I don’t need a checklist of things I should or should not do. I just need to follow one simple rule. And when I do, I will have met the ethical requirements of the law and the prophets. Although, admittedly, this is often easier said than done.

Jesus expressed this same thing later when asked about the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:37-40). He answered that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all we are and our neighbors as ourselves. That all of the law and prophets rest on these two commands.

How do we love our neighbor as we do ourselves? By treating them the way we want them to treat us. Do that, and you have fulfilled the ethical requirements of the law.

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Ed Jarrett

Just an old clay jar that God continues to see fit to use in his kingdom's work. I am retired, married with 2 children, and 4 grandchildren. I have followed Jesus for many years. And I love to share what He has given me from His word.

A Note to Readers

The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.

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