“‘In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets’” (Matthew 7:12).
The perfect love of the heavenly Father is most reflected in His children when they treat others as they themselves wish to be treated. This verse is a summary of the Law and the Prophets. It’s also a paraphrase of the second great commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). How we treat others is not determined by how we expect them to treat us or by how we think they should treat us, but by how we want them to treat us.
Man’s basic problem is preoccupation with self. In the final analysis, every sin results from that preoccupation. We sin because we are totally selfish, totally devoted to ourselves rather than to God and to others. Unregenerate humanity can never reach the standard of selfless love on its own.
So the dynamic for living this supreme ethic must come from outside our fallen nature. It can come only from the indwelling Holy Spirit, whose firstfruit is love (Gal. 5:22). In Jesus Christ “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5). Only Christ’s own Spirit can empower us to love each other as He loves us (John 13:34).
Selfless love serves for the sake of the one being served, and serves in the way it likes being served—whether it receives such service or not. This level of love is the divine level, and can be achieved only by divine help.
Sometimes we find ourselves grappling with such deep biblical matters that we overlook the most simple—like the Golden Rule. Try being more deliberate in the coming day to heeding this basic teaching of Jesus. See how it alters the way you approach even your routine interactions with others.
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008