Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | August 16, 2018

Golden Rule’s Inverse (Pr. 24:29). Dr. Robert L. Horton

It may not be the best known verse in the Bible, which is probably “judge not that you be not judged,” but most people know the golden rule: “whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.…” Jesus instructs everyone to treat others as we desire to be treated, or as He says in other contexts quoting Lev. 19:18, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt. 19:19, 22:39). We should ask ourselves, how would we feel if we were on the receiving end of our action or words?

Some have said, however, that it we can treat others as they have treated us, since if they are living according to the golden rule themselves, they must think it okay to be treated that way. But lest anyone think this way, God also gives us the inverse of the golden rule: “Do not say, ‘I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work’” (Pr. 24:29). We cannot simply treat others as they acted toward us. The standard of our actions, words, or thoughts is not conditioned upon what others do. The ill behavior of someone else does not excuse our misbehavior. Go back to the Garden, Adam tried to blame Eve, and Eve tried to pass the blame to the Serpent, but God held each individually accountable. The action of another did not mitigate the judgment and punishment each received for their own sin. We are to love others as ourselves regardless of their attitude toward us. Let us pray for God’s help to do so.


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