Luke 6:31 – “Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.
This saying, which has become known as the “Golden Rule,” has appeared in many other cultures in some form or another, even other religious traditions.
Christianity: “Do for others what you want them to do for you: This is the meaning of the Law and the teaching of the Prophets” (Matthew 7/12)
Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not to you fellowman. That is the entire law: All the rest is commentary”. (Talmud, Shabbat 3id)
Islam: “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself” (Sunnah)
Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful: (Udana-Verga 5/18)
Hinduism: “This is the sum of duty! Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you. (Mahabharata 5/1517)
Confucianism: Is there one maxim which ought to be acted upon throughout ones life? Surely it is the maxim of loving kindness. Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you? (Analects 15/23).
Taoism: “Regard your neighbours gain as you own gain and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss” (Tai Shang Kan Ying P’en)
Zoroastrism: “That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto others whatsoever is not good for itself”. (Dadistendinik 94/5)
Yet, if we really desire to understand how Yeshua interpreted and intended it to be applied, we would do well to keep it within the context of the rest of the passage of his teaching. Each bullet point provides its own convicting refinement of this principle.
Luke 6:27-31 – “But I say to you who listen:
Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also.
And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either.
Give to everyone who asks you, and from someone who takes your things, don’t ask for them back.
Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.”
But what if, instead of being written as admonitions to believers, these maxims were instead originally directed at those who reject God? What if Yeshua wanted to teach non-believers how to be able to truly identify God’s own people? Perhaps Yeshua might have phrased this teaching a little differently.
“Because I have instructed my disciples to follow me, they are obligated to act only in ways that I would act; in ways that honor God and bring glory to his name.
“Even though you consider them your enemies, they will have to demonstrate genuine love to you.
“Even though you may hate them, they will only be able to do what is good for you.
“If you curse them out, they will be forced to pronounce blessings on you.
“If you mistreat them, they will stop to pray for your needs.
“If you hit them, they will still stand by you to absorb your anger.
“If you take their coat, they will offer you additional clothing you may want. Whatever you ask, they will give. If you take from them, they won’t ask for it back, because God provides for all of their needs.
“They will only be able to respond in a way they would want to be treated themselves.
“These are my people, these are the ones who truly believe in me.”
Perhaps if Yeshua’s people acted more like this, the kingdom would be growing even faster than it is.
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