In a management seminar one time, the leader asked if we had heard of the Golden Rule of Business, “He who holds the gold makes the rules.” I get that. But Jesus’ Golden Rule is about navigating life where relationships are the priority.
Jesus’ Golden Rule is found in Matthew 7:1-23. He shares it in the context of a discussion on relationships. First, He addresses the temptation to be critical of others and then goes on to talk about watching out for those who would use you and even warns about people who would abuse you.
I have always thought that there is a difference between someone who has failed and someone who is a fake. A failure has battled temptation and lost. A fake pretends to be righteous but is at best only religious.
When we fail, we often battle shame and isolate ourselves from others. But failure is the evidence of two things:
- We took a risk. God values risk when it is a faith venture.
- We have an opportunity to learn. God uses everything in our life for our good and His glory.
A fake is driven to never show weakness and will use others to make themselves look better.
Jesus warns us not to be overly critical of someone who fails. Using a humorous illustration, He tells us to be careful and remove the log from our eye before we take a small speck from someone else. Then He says not to give the fakes access to what is precious to us. And He goes on to point out that among the fakes there are predators. These people are not just looking to get ahead and look good. They seek to manipulate and abuse others. He says in Matthew 7:6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
Jesus says you can sum up the entire Old Testament in this phrase, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Righteousness is NOT right behavior. Righteousness is getting relationships right.
Jesus is refining love. The love Jesus teaches calls for us to be stronger not weaker. This is not a doormat life. It is a threshold life. Rather than let people walk over us, we are to invite them into a kingdom of grace. And at the same time we are not to blindly embrace the fakes and to protect ourselves and others from the predators.
We navigate life with love, when we extend grace to those who fail and we are careful not to give intimate access to our souls to fakes and to be on our guard for predators!