Posts Tagged ‘golden rule’

Go & Do The Golden Rule

November 11, 2013

Having just celebrated Reformation Sunday I imagine Martin Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God” found voice in many congregations. One of the lines concerns the battle against evil and the archenemy, “The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him… one little word shall fell him.” One little word. It is amazing how one word has the potential to change so much.

Take for instance the slight wording change between the moral standard of Rabbi Hillel and his contemporary, Jesus Christ. Whereas Hillel says, “Do not do unto others…” Jesus says, “Do unto others.” Well, more precisely Hillel states, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole of Torah, the rest is commentary. go and learn it.” The fundamental difference between the two is the act of doing. Hillel’s rule is the very backbone for that oft quoted piece of advice, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This is not the moral way of Christ. At a time when good manners, honor, and chivalry are fleeting we must reinvigorate the standard of simply doing good.

These “Golden Rules” are not equal. If Hillel says to refrain from doing something to someone else you might not like then you begin by thinking solely about what not to do. Then you might take it further and, with tolerant consideration of your neighbor, you also curb your behavior lest you do something unappreciated. After awhile you are paralyzed in a circle of trying to make people happy without doing anything for fear it is offensive! Think of the teen who was told, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” and consider if you rarely hear them speak again.

Jesus in contrast calls the Church to be of action. Interestingly the Hebrew for “word” means both word and deed. Words and actions are intrinsically linked. Even the creation is described as spoken words that came to life. The Church is called to be creative, active and have a voice. James 1:22 instructs us, “to be doers of the word and not just hearers only.” The very Reformation was due to Luther’s words and actions. We are to speak, to act, and to be involved.

We should never be remiss to speak or act on the behalf of others with honor and chivalry. If we want to overcome the prince of darkness or even a grumpy neighbor, “a little word will fell him.” Speak life, do kindness, and spark a revolution of caring. Change the world for the good by doing good rather than hope that peace will emerge from our silent tolerance. We should do good and speak honorably without fear of the darkness. The world did not have light without God’s word nor will they see his love without our actions. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Harming Ourselves (Jer. 7:6)

October 7, 2010

Dear Lord, Your word today says that by following my own desires, by worshipping the idols in my life I am actually harming myself! Your word says to Love God, Love others as you Love Yourself. Oh Lord, the right worship of You is found in not desecrating the image (idol) of God – humans, and I am a human too! By not taking care of myself, I kill and deface the very image of God. Give me strength to see my idols that I worship and in so doing harm myself. And my following lies (idols) to my own gain is just as bad as taking advantage of others to get ahead, for we all are your creatures, your image.

It seems so easy to pick on “foreigners” – who is the foreigner to me? May I not join in the abuse of foreigners of the faith (non-Christians), may I be persuaded to punish those who exploit the true foreigners who are illegal in this country rather than vilify the aliens. Melt my heart for their plight and give me power to do justice upon their behalf in a land where they are exploited, used, abused and cheapened just so others can make another dollar off their backs. the problem is there are jobs for the illegals in the USA – ones where they are abused, but have a better chance than in their own home countries. May You help me shut down the rackets that exploit the alien and therefore in so doing help the alien to enter the country with dignity and honor. My own welfare is connected to how I treat the aliens amongst us. May I do unto them as I would want to be done unto me. Amen.

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