Love and the Golden Rule
For the past couple of days, we’ve been talking about unconditional love being the major ingredient to fulfill the whole Law and the Prophets, as the Hebrew expresses it, or the whole of the Bible, as we would refer to it today.
This is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 22 when He said that loving God with every part of our being fulfills everything written in the Bible concerning how we are to live and love; for loving God in this way also includes loving the whole of God’s creation, including every other human being and every other animal.
When Jesus expanded this in verse 39 by saying “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”, He was also saying that this kind of unconditional love is really an example of The Golden Rule. Thus we can say that unconditional love equals the golden rule.
We hope we all remember how Jesus made this a part of the sample prayer He gave us (The Lord’s Prayer). Note what we are told in Matthew 6:12.
12. ‘And forgive us our debts [trespasses], as we also have forgiven our debtors [trespassers].
Isn’t this just another way of expressing how the golden rule applies even to our relationship with God?
But it’s more than this. It’s also an example of how perfect love should be applied in all our relationships with other people, and just in case we didn’t understand this, Jesus added in verses 14 and 15…
14. “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15. “But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
However, this unconditional love and golden rule must be applied even further, even to the whole of creation. We must put ourselves in the place of every other human being and animal, and ask ourselves, “How would we want to be treated if we were them?”
Would we want to be horribly treated all our lives and then sent to a slaughterhouse and killed and then eaten by someone, as so-called “food animals” are?
I’ll trust that your answer is a resounding, NO; for this is totally opposite to the application of the golden rule and unconditional love.