Regula Aurea = The Golden Rule
Regula Aurea = The Golden Rule in Latin
reg′yə lə aüreâ
PART FOUR OF SIX
One day, several years ago, my good friend and favorite preacher and I set out to do some “servant evangelism.” Servant evangelism is using random acts of kindness to show God’s love in a practical way. On this particular day, the mission was to identify a person waiting in the McDonald’s line inside the restaurant and offer to pay for their meal. We stood at the back of the order line surveying the patrons, and immediately observed an older woman who was just letting the young girl behind the counter have it. She was obviously very mad and speaking to the young girl harshly. I guess maybe the employee might have been a trainee, and was having a hard time getting the order right. It was immediately impressed on me that this angry lady was the one. I stepped up to the register and said, “I would like to buy this lady’s dinner tonight,” and gave the employee my debit card. The angry lady’s countenance immediately changed. The anger went away and you could tell she was thinking, “What? Why is this guy doing this?” I said, “God bless you ma’am, enjoy your dinner.” Her attitude was completely flipped in just a moment. I tell this story certainly not to brag about anything I did, but to boast about my Lord. Only He gives us the ability to act in such a manner, to see things, not from a worldly perspective, but a Kingdom perspective. Quite honestly, this angry woman would have been my last choice that night.
Matthew 7:12 says, “So, whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” This is known as the Golden Rule. Jesus was saying this verse fulfills the entire Old Testament. It also summarizes the Sermon on the Mount. We should continue to discipline ourselves until this comes naturally as we love God with all our hearts and our soul and our mind, and love our neighbor as ourself.
Porter Barrington said, “The Golden Rule is the most concise, most inclusive ethical statement ever written or spoken. If it were obeyed by all mankind, there would be no need for armies or law-enforcement officers; there would be heaven on earth. Make the Golden Rule your standard of ethics and you will make the world a better place in which to live.”
Barrington also calls the Golden Rule the “Key to the Kingdom.” I would say understanding and practicing this verse is akin to a masters degree in discipleship. Here’s the thing….carrying out the Golden Rule has nothing to do with the other person, but everything to do with Jesus and our relationship with Him. It has nothing to do with circumstances or the behavior of the other person. The angry lady in the story above certainly did not deserve to have her meal payed for. But isn’t that a picture of the Gospel? I do not deserve the mercy that has been shown to me, yet I have been saved by grace through faith in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.
James 2:8 says, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. In James 2:1-7, James was talking about the sin of partiality. There is no discrimination in Christ and His laws. The Great Commandment and the Golden Rule should be considered as royal. We can make the mistake of choosing ourselves how we define a neighbor; rich, poor, black, white. We must not. It is not for us to show any partiality. We are to do unto others as we would have them do to us, no matter what.
Just for today, meditate on and practice the Golden Rule.
Tune in tomorrow for Part Five.
Thomas Nelson Publishers. The Christian Life Bible: With Old and New Testaments. The New King James Version with Master Outlines and Study Notes, References, Book Introductions, Concordance, Subject Index, Study Helps, Words of Christ in Red. Nashville: T. Nelson, 1985.