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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