The Golden Rule Is Tarnished
Friends. It's a topic that's had this blog buzzing and my heart stirring lately. We want friends, but we don't know where to find them. We have friends, but we don't know how to really connect. We lose friends, and it's hard to understand why. It's enough to make a girl want to throw in the towel and give up on friendships all together.
But... then we look at Jesus. There are so many places in God's Word where Jesus shows us the value of relationships with others.
Take the Trinity for example—God, three in one. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are connected. There's no fighting for the needs of the individual but rather an intentional dependence. If God is connected through relationship, it seems fitting that we should be also.
During Jesus' earthly ministry, He had layers of friends. He had an inner circle of friends, Peter, James, and John who saw Him at His best and at His worst. He also had a wider circle of friends in the disciples and people like Mary, Martha, and Simon the leper.
Jesus could have been a lone wolf. He didn't need others to accomplish His purposes. (He's God after all.) And we see in the Gospels that there were times that His friendships complicated things, but still He did the hard work to be connected to others.
When I read about Jesus' friendships, I see that:
- He didn't wait for potential friends to reach out to Him.
- When there was conflict, He didn't wait for others to come to Him to make things right.
- He didn't pursue friendship because of what was in it for Him.
- He didn't keep score.
There's a theme here, and it shines a white-hot spotlight on this—our concept of the Golden Rule is tarnished.
Matthew 7:12 says, "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
This verse says to treat others as we want to be treated, but it is not a guarantee that they will return the favor. It's not an invitation to keep score.
You see, when it comes to my friends I have a tendency to think thoughts like these:
I was nice to you today, so you better always be nice to me.
I forgave you, but you better not ever hurt me again... or else.
I helped you, so you better help me.
But that's not the heart of the Golden Rule, and it doesn't make for great friendships. Do you want to be a great friend? Stop keeping score. Do you want to move toward worrying less about having the right friends and put effort toward being the kind of friend Jesus modeled? Love others well without constantly wondering, What's in this for me?
The Golden Rule makes Jesus shine. It's not about polishing up our image or creating a set of shiny friendships that meet our every need.
Lord, show us how to love others like we want to be loved. Help us to be the kind of friend that You were. Give us the strength to stop keeping score.
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