Monday, January 5, 2009
Do to others as you would have them do to you
"But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Comments: The Golden Rule is not unique to Jesus. Hillel, the great Rabbi of just before Jesus’ time and Confucius in the east both used sayings that were similar to the Golden Rule. They phrase it in the negative. “Do not do to others what you would not want done to you.” It is the basis of ethical behavior for many cultures.
But Jesus takes it farther than ethics. Jesus teaches a generosity that goes beyond “good sense.” It is why Christianity is so hard to live. This generosity, this mindlessness of self, contradicts our basic instinct of self-protection. Jesus teaches kenosis, a self-emptying that offers to God that instinct. I can only empty myself if I am confident that God will provide what I need. I can only do this if I am willing to trust God. Faith requires that what I need will be provided and I can live on what God provides. This goes way beyond my good working class ethic. It seems a reckless way to live, but it is the loving way. Scary!