We’ve all heard the saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12) (Luke 6:31) This Bible verse is the foundation of “The Golden Rule.” I’ve heard it quoted since I was a child and remember seeing it posted on school walls.
There is a popular way of thinking in the church these days of sowing and reaping. If we do good things, we get good in return. If we do bad things, we get bad in return.
I’d like to take a different perspective on these things. What if we only got back the exact same things that we’ve done? What if other people treated us exactly the way we have treated them?
What if someone repeated a rumor about us for every single time we’ve repeated one about someone else?
What if we found ourselves sick and broke and only got in return the amount of help or money we have given to others when they were sick and in a hard place?
What if our aging family members had only given us the same amount of time we have given them? Or perhaps our children? Our neighbors? Our friends?
What if we only had good things said about us the same number of times we have said good things about other people?
When is the last time you hugged someone just because they needed it? How about the number of times you’ve called to check on a neighbor? How many trips have you made to the hospital to bring a smile or a kind word to someone admitted for a few days or longer?
Here’s one to think about. What if the same number of people shared the love of Jesus with you that you have shared with?
I’m talking to myself as well as anyone else.
Even good people have demands and stressors on their lives that keep them from doing all the good they’d like to do. The demands of family life and holding down a job certainly take a lot of energy. We need a little time for ourselves, also, if we are going to keep a balanced life. If we are not careful, even church activities and community organizations will fill up our schedule so that we don’t have time to pour into the lives of individuals.
All of us would have a lot more compassion on other people and be compelled to take time or make time to reach out to others if we could only take a moment in our mind to trade places with the one in need and allow ourselves to have empathy for them.
I don’t do nearly enough, but I try to do good where ever I go. There have been times in my life when I really, really needed someone to love on me. Whether that was to just come and sit with me for half an hour, ask me to go for a ride and let them do the driving, or stop in to drop off a good book or a burger. I just needed to know that I wasn’t alone. I have good friends whom I love and appreciate, but they get caught up in their own needs, too. I have been shocked in those times that the people who reached out to me were often the ones for whom I had not done a thing.
If we only do good things for people expecting those same individuals to pay us back, we will be disappointed. Showing kindness to others is not supposed to be about doing things for someone so they will feel obligated to return the favor. Our motivation should simply be that we are all human and we all need kindness extended to us at one time or the other.
Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at [email protected] or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.