“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12 NIV).
Jesus shared this simple summation to His followers in His Sermon on the Mount. It’s often called the Golden Rule. Like gold, this rule is precious, priceless, and has a high return on investment. Jesus also said that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and…love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37, 39 NIV).
Have you ever thought about how you want to be treated? Take a minute and respond to these statements:
I wish people would treat me ____________.
I wish people would speak to me _____________.
I wish people would view me ______________.
I want people to love me ___________________.
I want _________ shown to me.
I’m sure, like me, you want to be valued, honored, respected, loved, and treated with kindness and justice.
Now think about the magnitude of Jesus’s words. How we desire to be treated, well, that’s how we are to treat others. So whatever characteristic or action you inserted above, to receive it, you’ll have to go do that to others. Go be that to others. These acts of love are what being a follower of Jesus means.
Surely none of us answered, “I wish people would treat me unkindly. I wish people would speak to me untruthfully.” Or “I wish people would view me as incompetent and reject me. I want people to judge, criticize, and show hatred to me.”
How does it make you feel when people treat you in those ways? It makes me feel cheap, insignificant, and unloved. What purpose is served? None. And God certainly isn’t honored. So why would we want to act in such a way?
Interestingly, God is most concerned with our actions, not the actions of others. The directive from Jesus is for His followers to love others and move toward them in active goodness and mercy. It’s the kind of love God shows us every day. How we feel about a particular person doesn’t get to play into the equation. God wants our obedience; that’s how we show we love and trust Him (1 John 5:3–5).
I’m sure there’s a particular someone right now that each one of us might think, “There is no way I can treat them with kindness!” Well, I’ve got good news for you. In the verses right before the Golden Rule, Jesus teaches that if you “keep on asking, you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will open to you” (Matthew 7:7–8 NLT).
Jesus gives us these three amazing promises to supply and equip us to do this hard, seemingly impossible thing. The Bible also teaches that God will provide us with wisdom along the way. We aren’t left to carry out His commands alone. He is with us, but we must remember to draw near to Him for help. If we “come close to God,…God will come close to [us]” (James 4:8 NLT). This verse reveals the loving heart of God.
If we’re honest, there are a lot of times we don’t want to show kindness or love to others. We’ve just been hurt too many times. But God can heal those broken places in your heart. He has mine. Ask Him to place His love for people in you and help you see people the way He sees them.
God can put His desires in your heart and help you accomplish them (Philippians 2:13). He will show up and make Himself available to you through His Word and His Holy Spirit as you draw close to Him.
It helps to remember that you’re not treating people with kindness for their sake; you’re doing it for God. Your motivation is to honor the Lord and bring glory to King Jesus.
Take a moment to think of some good, merciful, right, and whole action or response that you can do toward one person today. Is the Lord cattle-prodding your spirit in a particular direction? Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open for opportunities as you go through your day. Follow His promptings.
Treating others the way we want to be treated is the key to living a victorious life.
SHERIDAN CORREA is a biblical counselor who is trained in trauma-informed care. She’s a wife, mother of two teenage boys, singer, and avid runner who has been radically changed by Jesus. She joined the Victorious Living family in 2022 as social media manager.