‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ Jesus said it. A more modern way of saying it would be ‘treat people the way you want to be treated’. Then He went on to say that if you treat people right that eventually they will come around to treating you right. Common sense. You can use this to your advantage. The Law of Reciprocity. Right?
Well no, Jesus didn’t say that, did He, there in Luke Chapter 6, verses 27 through 36? He seemed to be saying the very opposite of reciprocity. He seemed to be saying ‘give without expecting to get, love without expecting to be loved. Anybody can love when they can reasonably expect love in return.’ Now we know what happens if we do that. Some people will see it as a sign of weakness and take advantage of us.
So what do we do? We apply this golden rule selectively. We give and love when we can reasonably expect our good works will be reciprocated. And we call it ‘wisdom’. But He said to give without expecting to get. He said to love your enemies. He said to do when you can reasonably expect people to take advantage of your good works. Well that’s kind of radical, isn’t it?
And that’s the Golden Rule in all it’s magnificence, in all it’s radical glory. Applying the Golden Rule means (like so many other facets of a Christian life fully lived) letting down all of our defenses and trusting completely in Jesus. Anything else is hedging our bets. It’s like trying to walk on water with one foot still the boat.