Sunday, September 20, 2009

Twisting the Golden Rule

Recently, I've been convicted over the golden rule. Interestingly, even people who aren't Christians at least know the gist of it. It can be found in Luke 6:31 -- "Do to others as you would have them do to you." (NIV) It's actually part of a list of uncommon ways we are suppose to treat others -- friends or enemies.

  • Love your enemies
  • Do good to those who hate you
  • Bless when you are cursed
  • Pray for those who hurt you
  • Turn the other cheek
  • If someone takes your cloak, give them your tunic too
  • And do to others as you have them do to you
It's a strikingly uncommon way of relating to people in a world that focuses on revenge and blame and all of those kinds of things.

While I don't do it perfectly, in general, I would say I'm pretty good at following the golden rule. (Not perfect, of course.) I loan things freely. I try to say kind things. I'm more than willing to go out of my way for people. Yet, as I said above, I've been convicted about it.

When I was in college, I had never been in a discipleship relationship. Going into my junior year, I found myself in leadership of a Christian group on campus and there were people who needed some shepherding. Honestly, my approach was to provide what I wished someone had done for me. Amazingly, it worked. I found I learned as much as they did.

There have been other things as well where my mode of operation is based on "what I wish had happened for me." It can be taking an interest in the kids I know, going to sporting events even if I do not understand the rules. It can be following through with promises. It can be any number of things.

It has worked well, but here is the twist. Lately, I've noticed bitterness creep in. Though I still may do those things, I find that I can think, "I did this or that for so and so, why won't anyone do it for me?" The twist is that I somehow deserve something in return. Sadly, that means what I have given or done, has not been a gift. It comes with an expectation.

Yes, it would be nice on various things, but that is not the heart behind the golden rule or any of those other things listed above. The heart is considering others before me because that is what Christ did. The heart is giving up our rights because that is what Jesus did.

So, I need to ask God to change my heart to match my actions. Then, the gifts of time or interest or whatever will be freely given with no strings attached.

What about you? Do you ever attach strings to things?



Joyful said...

Amy, thanks for your honesty...and trust're not alone.

In this post, just written about a week ago, I confess to doing things with incorrect motives too. Always a struggle. Yet, it thrills me the Lord makes my heart sensitive to these things. Evidence He's still working on me...that's a good sign.


Elaine said...

I don't know anyone who doesn't! Even as a parent I find myself ranting one day about all the "things" I do for my children and what I get back from them is screaming and more whinning!!! Take a deep breath and let it out slowly, I am not perfect and need to get my focus back on Christ. He can do all things because He is God, I am weak and lowly, but thankful that He is my guide. thanks for your post!