My interest is often piqued by how many popular clichés are actually biblical principles. If we sit and think about it, most of the quotes that have stuck with us over the course of our lives have origins in the Bible.
Take a look at these popular sayings and the biblical equivalents:
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”
If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him, fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him. (Leviticus 24:19-20, ESV)
“If you don’t work, you don’t eat”
For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10, ESV)
“The blind leading the blind”
Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14, ESV)
“Wolves in sheep’s clothing”
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15, ESV)
I could keep going, but I’m sure you get the point.
The world may not always want to admit it, but in every facet of our lives we are guided by God’s Word. It is a lamp to our feet (Psalm 119:105), illuminating our steps so that we always walk uprightly before him.
Being righteous (holy, pure) before God is best displayed by how we treat and care for others, especially those that could never repay us for what we’ve done for them. In the New Testament, Jesus communicated that the entire law is hinged upon two commandments: loving God with everything in us and loving our neighbors as we love our own selves (Matthew 22:37-40).
The Golden Rule
In Matthew chapter 22, Jesus was actually referring back to what he said in Matthew 7:12, which reads:
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (ESV)
But we know the above quoted scripture as the popular, global adage “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Essentially, this means that if we love others as we love ourselves, we will go out of our way to deal with them how we would like others to deal with us.
This is an accepted universal truth that I try to govern my life by. How I speak to others, how I serve others, how I encourage others is what I would like to have reflected back to me in my interactions with people. But if I’m honest, sometimes I fall short, and I imagine I’m not the only one that does. So, I want to share ways I think we can all do our best to display the Golden Rule.
Being kind goes a long way. I can’t express how many times I’ve had a spirit of heaviness and through another person, God gave me a small, simple gesture to show me he’s always with me.
We’re not always privy to the ways an encouraging text message or a smile to a random stranger may brighten someone’s day, but we should be kind anyway as though it will make all the difference in the world.
Enter the World of Others (Show Empathy)
Circling back to not always knowing how we can brighten someone’s day, we’re not always aware of situations that family, friends, and coworkers may be going through. Perhaps a work friend is concerned about how they are going to make ends meet. Maybe a family member just received a concerning health report.
Unbeknownst to that person, they may unconsciously take out their fear, worry, or frustration on us. If we know that the behavior is out of character for that individual, let’s try to continue to think good thoughts towards them. If we have an established relationship with the person, we may be able to inquire into the change in mood. Nonetheless, we can always ponder on the next tip, which is:
Believe the Best
1 Corinthians 13 talks about all the beautiful things love is. In it, the writer — the Apostle Paul — states that love believes all things (verse 7). I may be taking a bit of liberty here, but I believe that also means believing the best. Believe the best about the people we encounter and interact with. If our thoughts guide our actions, have we ever considered that what we think about people guides how we treat them? I think we have to believe that others want the best for us as much as we want the best for them. And, if we find that is not the case, have faith in God and look at the next tip.
Don’t Repay – Pray
Our Father in Heaven is not so far removed from our plights that he is oblivious about what is happening in our lives. A lot of times, God orchestrated it. So if we’re in a relationship with someone whose thoughts toward you are not those of love and believing the best, we don’t have to lift a finger to defend ourselves. Our Savior is always ready to defend us and fight for us. What we should do is pray for the other person that God is merciful.
Let’s think of the ways we show more love and grace to others, adhering to the Golden Rule and fulfilling the law left by Jesus.
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