Treating Others the Way You Want to be Treated - Matthew 7:12
A young man brought up in the home of a Baptist preacher had a dream up going to college and becoming a lawyer. But after his dad passed away unexpectedly this young man put his dream aside to work as a stock clerk in a local store. When he was a child, his dad shared with him our verse for today: “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” He said, “Son, if you follow this Golden Rule, you’ll live a great life for the Lord, and God will take care of you.”
That sermon left a lasting impression on life. As time went on the owners of the store saw the young man’s enthusiasm and dedication and promoted him and eventually decided to make him a partner. Eventually the original owners decided to sell out their interest in the store and the young man purchased the store along with 2 others and over time developed a chain of stores across the country. He based his whole business philosophy on this verse. He treated his customers and his associates the way he would want to be treated, and God blessed the business.
Let me read to you a few of his quotes:
“The friendly smile, the word of greeting, are certainly something fleeting and seemingly insubstantial. You can’t take them with you. But they work for good beyond your power to measure their influence. It is the service we are not obliged to give that people value most.”
“In setting up a business under the name and meaning of the Golden Rule, I was publicly binding myself, in my business relations, to a principle which had been a real and intimate part of my family upbringing. Our idea was to make money and build business through serving the community with fair dealing and honest value.”
“Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement.”
“A merchant who approaches business with the idea of serving the public well has nothing to fear from the competition.”
And who was this man? I’ll let you know in at the end of the lesson.
The same verse which empowered the life of this man can empower the lives of believers today. I want to talk about what this verse means in its biblical context, and then I want to talk about what it means for our lives today.
In Matthew 7:7-11, we learned that God does good things for those who come to him in prayer; those who ask, seek, and knock.. And here in verse 12, Jesus is saying “Since God has been so good to us through the years, we need to extend that same goodness to the people in our lives. Therefore, in everything, do to others what you would have them do unto you.”
Notice that Jesus says IN EVERYTHING, do unto others.” This means that in every conceivable circumstance of life, we should treat people the way we would want to be treated.
I want to share three ways that the Golden Rule applies to our lives.
#1. It means that we should serve others the way we would want to be served. If you were the owner of your own company, how many of you would want your workers to be honest and work as hard as they could? How many of you would want them to maintain a positive attitude toward others, even when things get hectic?
If that’s the way you would want to be treated if you were the boss, then that’s the way you should treat your CURRENT boss! Living out the truth of this Bible verse revolutionizes the way you do your job! The way we do everything!
You just do not do the bare minimum so that you can collect a paycheck. Live the life the way Jesus wants you to live it! Serve others the way YOU would want to be served!
1 Corinthians 10:31 says
“Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God!”
Now this should apply whether you are at home, at church, on the street, in a grocery line, at work, where ever! ”In EVERYTHING do unto others…”
You say, “That’s not realistic! That’s not the way my boss or supervisor acts! That’s not even the way my spouse acts towards me. That’s not the way most PEOPLE act!” And you’re right! People are selfish by nature. People don’t want to practice the golden rule on other people because it’s a lot more fun when someone practice the golden rule on them! They like it when people say “Here, let me help you with that! What can I do to make you more comfortable?
But Jesus says in Mark 10:44 that ‘If you want to be great in the eyes of the Lord, then YOU need to be the one who serves! YOU need to be the one who is an instrument of God’s blessing! Whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.’ Treating people the way you want to be treated fulfills the will of God.
#2. The Golden Rule also means that we should forgive others the way you would want to be forgiven. How many of you have ever said, “Oh, I wish she would give me another chance! I wish he would realize how sorry I am for what I said or what I did?! I wish they could just forgive me.”
If you’ve ever wanted to be forgiven, then you should have empathy for the people in YOUR life who need forgiveness.
Ephesians 4:32 says
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Billy Graham had a weekly newspaper column where he answers questions that people send him.
Billy Graham had a weekly newspaper column where he answers questions that people send him.
One person wrote and said, “My dad is dying, and he wants to see me one more time. But he abandoned me when I was a kid. Why should I go and see him now?”
And Dr. Graham said, “What your father did was very hurtful, and I can understand why you wouldn’t want to go. But put yourself in his shoes. If you messed up your relationship with your family, wouldn’t you pray for one more chance to make things right before you died? Wouldn’t you want one last opportunity to say “I’m sorry?” Wouldn’t you want one last chance to be a blessing?”
And then Billy Graham said, “This isn’t just about your dad’s need for forgiveness. This is about your willingness to extend forgiveness. When you give your heart to Jesus, God gives you the ability to forgive the hurts of the past. God gives you the ability to love people that you could never love on your own.”
Many times,it’s not something we can do in our own strength. But with the help of Almighty God, we can forgive others the way we would want to be forgiven.
#3. The Golden Rule also means that we should show love for others the way we would want to be loved.
You can apply this to your own family. When you get home from work wouldn’t be nice if your spouse greeted you with a smile and a hug and kind words. Wouldn’t it be nice if they made a nice meal for you and did a few of your chores around the house so that you could relax a bit. Wouldn’t be nice if your family not only praised you to your face but also treated you nice in public.
Well as you apply the Golden Rule, shouldn’t you be the one who is nice to your spouse, greeting them with a smile, kind words, and a hug. Shouldn’t we be the ones doing something nice for them to lighten their burdens?
So this verse not only revolutionizes the way we serve others. It revolutionizes the way we love and treat others. It challenges us to put the interests of others ahead of our own interests.
That’s what the Golden Rule is all about. And Jesus says if you live like this, you are fulfilling the will of God. You are living out the very essence of the Old Testament.
We see the same truth in other parts of the Bible. In Romans chapter 13:8-9, Paul is talking about our relationships with one another. Beginning in verse eight he says,
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
In other words, “treating others the way you want to be treated fulfills the will of God.” How many of you want to touch your family’s with the love of God? How many of you would like to change someone’s world with an act of random kindness? There’s no need to hit people over the head with the Bible. To the best of your ability, just take the essence of the Christian message as contained in the words of this Golden rule and live it out day after day, as long as you live, and watch what happens.
Micah 6:8 says
“What does the Lord require of you, but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Treating people the way you want to be treated fulfills the will of God.
#4. Another reason why we should practice the Golden Rule in the lives of others is because God practiced the Golden Rule towards us.
The Bible tells us, while we were still His enemies, Christ died on the cross for our sins. He paid the ultimate price. Then He rose from the dead to be our Lord and Savior to help us get to Heaven. And so the Golden Rule is all about loving and serving others with the same sacrificial love that God has for us. Ask Jesus to be your Savior and Lord. Then practice the Golden Rule in the lives of others, and watch what happens to them and to you. I began this sermon telling you of a man who based his whole business upon this Golden Rule and was blessed because of it. There are now more than 1100 stores all over the country named after this man. His name, James Cash Penny. We’ve all visited one of his stores at one time or another, JC Penny’s. This man went on to do great things because he took this Golden Rule seriously and applied it to his life as best as he could and God blessed him. What about you?
I challenge you to apply this Golden Rule in every part of your life.
12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
It is only one verse, one command of Jesus, yet if taken seriously and applied, I believe it has the power change each of us and the world we live in.
Based on a sermon by Dr. Marc Axelrod
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