Jesus says the Golden Rule — Do unto others as you would have them do unto you — actually sums up the Law and the Prophets. But I think there’s a much bigger idea at work throughout all of Scripture. Our foundational motivation, our guiding principle as God’s holy people is “Do unto others as God has done unto you.”
“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” ~ Colossians 3:13
“Accept one another as Christ accepted you.” ~Romans 15:7
“Love one another as I have loved you.” ~John 15:12
The key is in my understanding that God has treated me in ways I absolutely do not deserve. That’s the most basic part of this. It all falls apart without that genuine realization. It doesn’t work.
How much has God forgiven you? Everything. Everything? Yeah, everything. Is there anything he hasn’t forgiven you of? No. Nothing? Nothing. He’s really forgiven you of everything? Yes, everything. You deserve it? No.
“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Has Christ accepted you? Oh, yeah. Without a doubt, I belong to him. Really? You belong to Jesus? Yes, sir, he’s accepted me. And you were perfect when he accepted you? Um, no. You weren’t perfect? No. Not even close. But he still accepted you? Yeah. Well, how bad were you? Pretty bad. But you never intentionally sinned, right? Oh, no, there were plenty of intentional sins. You had hurt Jesus with your words? Oh, yeah, plenty of times. You had disappointed him with your actions? All the time. Lousy attitude? Selfish pride? Stubbornness? Yes, all those things. Sin? Yes, I’m a sinner. I was a sinner when I met Jesus. I hadn’t been following him or listening to him or obeying him. I was a sinner. But he still accepted you? Yes. Did you deserve it? No.
“Accept one another as Christ accepted you.”
Does Jesus love you? Yes. How much? A bunch. A ton. How do you know? How do you know he loves you so much? He died for me. What’s that? He died for me. He died for you? Yeah, he died for me. How did he die? Look, he left everything he had in heaven by the Father’s side; he left his glory and his power and his authority; he left his prestige and position and status; he left his home; he gave up everything to come to earth and suffer horribly and die in agony and pain like a criminal on a cross! He did that for you? Yeah. He must love you a lot. Yes, he does. You deserve that kind of love? No. Not even close.
“Love one another as I have loved you.”
See, if we think we deserve God’s forgiveness, if we believe that we have lived in such a way or have worked in such a way as to actually merit Christ’s acceptance, if we suppose we’ve earned the right to God’s love, we’ll only show that same kind of love and acceptance and forgiveness to people we think deserve it. I’ll judge people as worthy or not of my acceptance. I’ll forgive people only as I deem them forgiveable. I’ll love only those I want to love.
Do unto others as God has done unto you. It’s basic.
Why do we miss it?