The Golden Rule

Contributing Writer
Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade, NY

There is one very simple rule every child must learn growing up: step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back. Just kidding. The golden rule, of course. And let’s not forget who said it first. In Matthew 7:12 Jesus says, “In everything do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” What an important lesson, and who said it is just for kids? But, to be perfectly honest, I’ve always had one little problem with the verse. What if we aren’t very good at how we treat ourselves? Does that mean we get a pass on how we should treat others?

Of course not, but it’s what I’ve always appreciated about something Jesus said in a different gospel. I call it the Golden Commandment. Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13:34-35). In Jesus’ new commandment the standard shifts from how we treat ourselves or would like to be treated to how Jesus himself treats us.

And to be clear, this is how Jesus loves us:

  • Claims us just as we are
  • Calls us friends
  • Welcomes strangers
  • Eats with sinners
  • Seeks out the culturally outcaste
  • Washes our feet in an act of service
  • And gives everything, even his life, in love for us.

And he calls us to love one another the same way. The question is not how do we want to be treated, but how does Jesus love us. And the answer is a lot.

So may that ‘new commandment’ become a new lesson to live by we instill in our children. But, again, who said it was a lesson just for kids? May we all love one another just as Jesus loved us. Amen.

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Pastor Shawn is a 2010 graduate of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, and he began his call at Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade NY that summer. While he spent four years learning and serving churches in South and North Carolina, as a Jamestown, NY native, Western New York has always been home. He is glad to be here. Pastor Shawn and his wife Carol Hannon met while attending SUNY Geneseo in the mid-2000s. They have enjoyed making their home together in Arcade with their daughters Quinn and Perry.   Pastor Shawn has a background in youth and outdoor ministry. He is a former camper and staff person at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center in Bemus Point, NY. He has also served camps in urban settings and oversees in Madagascar. In seminary he was recognized for gifts in Greek and New Testament, and in his senior year was recognized with awards in both Preaching and Biblical Studies. Pastor Shawn continues to emphasize the youth in his ministry, but not simply because they are the future church, but because they are the church of today.  He also enjoys working on service projects, and takes the role of planning meaningful and engaging worship seriously.  He loves helping people find ways to put their passion and energy to work making their community and other people’s worlds a better place. When he is not working at church, Shawn enjoys remodeling and construction projects around his family’s home.  But as busy as he gets, PS always has time for a quick nine (okay, 18) on the golf course. He enjoys playing sports of all kinds and fiddling with his guitar.