The Golden Rule

James Cash Penney’s first venture as a retail proprietor was a butcher-shop in Longmont, Colorado which opened in 1899 and failed almost immediately, after he refused to bribe an important local hotel chef with a weekly bottle of bourbon. “I lost everything I had,” said … More

Golden Rule

The three words, ask, seek and knock, suggest both perseverance and frequent prayer (v. 7). God promises to answer genuine prayer that is fervent and continual (v. 8). Everything we need for spiritual success has been promised to us. God leaves us with no excuse for failure. Would you give your hungry child a stone to eat, if the child asked for bread (v. 9)? Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish (v. 10)? Even if you are evil you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him (v. 11)! The blessings promised here as a result of prayer are not the blessings of common grace (Matt. 5:45) but of the kingdom. And though we must ask for them, it is not because God must be informed (Matt. 6:8) but because this is the Father’s way of training his family.

Verse 12 is commonly referred to as “the Golden Rule” and is one of the most misunderstood statements in the Bible. It is not God’s plan of redemption. A person’s righteous acts do not save him but when he is saved he is then able to demonstrate true righteousness toward others. The principle taught here only applies to believers and ought to govern our attitudes toward others. If we would rather have people pray for us than criticize us, then we ought to be willing to do the same for them.  Practicing “the Golden Rule” releases the love of God in our lives and makes it possible for us to help others, even when they want to hurt us.

Application

How I treat others is not to be determined by how I expect them to treat me or by how I think they should treat me but by how I would hope they would treat me. Who is someone I have criticized and need to pray for.

Matthew 7:7-12 (English Standard Version)

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."

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