“When going uphill, gear down to go faster.”
“I may make bad choices but I’m not a bad person”
– drug addict
How does that quote stand up to this next one?
“We are the sum of our choices”
The Golden Rule
I’ve been thinking about the golden rule in Luke 6:27-49. It comes straight after a declaration of the topsy turvey nature of this new kingdom (Luke 6:17-26). This passage is an extension of the nature of this kingdom and elaborates on how relations to others work in his kingdom. However, we often miss out on how or why the golden rule exist.
“Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Luke 6:27-36 (35-36 quoted)
First, the golden rule exist not only because it is logical and good, but because it is the nature of God (and not the world). It is shown in Jesus himself. Jesus is described here as “the Most High” who is “kind to the ungrateful and wicked” and “merciful”. He is the ruler who applies the golden rule to himself first. Children easily take on the mannerisms and nature of whoever rules them – typically their parents. To be His children is to have His nature. When we have his nature, our “reward will be great”.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Luke 6:37-38 (38 quoted)
Second, how we treat others is how they will treat us. Although we apply the golden rule to ourselves, we do not expect others to apply the golden rule to themselves. What we get is what we give. Being kind to others will attract kindness from them. Being mean to others will attract meaness from them. But more than that because what we give is often multiplied back.
The golden rule is important because there are 2 golden rulers. A golden ruler who applies the rule on himself first. And a golden rule of measurement that measures you according to how you measure others.
It is said that a teacher can only take you to where they’ve been. Luke 6:39-49 agrees entirely and says pick your teacher wisely because we become our teacher (v39-40). In those days, the battle was between 2 teachers: the teachers of the law and the Teacher of grace. It gives us 2 things to look out for when picking a teacher.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
Luke 6:41-42 (42 quoted)
First, look for one who practices what they preach. It is often said that “those who can’t do, teach.” Well, if they can’t do, they shouldn’t be teaching. If they can’t do, don’t be foolish enough to learn from them.
“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Luke 6:43-45 (45 quoted)
Second, look for the produce of their labour – their fruit. People can only bring out what is already inside. I can’t teach someone the piano because I don’t know how to play the piano. The greatest indication of this is words. I can’t teach humility by boasting. Nor can I teach kindness with cutting words. Pick fruits from the right trees.
The call to the people then was to consider who they were learning from. Teachers of the law or Jesus, teacher of grace. More than that, Jesus seemed to have been making a call for the hearers to choose which kingdom they stood in.
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
The connection between the golden rule and the rules to finding a good teacher can be found here. If we profess Jesus as our teacher, as our Lord, we need to be living in the golden rule. More than that, ALL of his words need to be put into practice.
“When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.”
Luke 6:46-49 (48 quoted)
And the benefits. Nuff said.
I feel alive.
It has just dawned upon me that John Bevere does not understand the need for boundaries or how they work with authority. Saying “yes” all the time to authority spells instant trouble for creating independance as a person and dependence on God (and not on men).
“We are a priesthood of belivers, not belivers under the priest’s hood.” – random book reviewer
We all know in part, and we minister in part. The New Testament is filled with scriptures about leadership being about servanthood (not about authority) and the body of Christ being about equal parts in service and not about heirarchy. No authority has monopoly of God’s voice.
“Don’t leave your brains at the church door” – Book title from the 1990s
Indeed, authority is instituted by God and we need to be wise in dealing with authority. A great amount of church abuse, which eventually turns into a bad reputation on the church and people being turned away from Jesus happens not just because of abusive authority, but also loose boundaries. It takes two hands to clap.
Abuse often happens in church over issues where there is no right or wrong. If I am being abused by authority above me and I keep saying yes to them, I am still under God’s provision and protection. I am being abused while I am under protection. I am being provided for while I am being fed wrong theology, an unhealthy sense of self-esteem and not in God’s rest. A bit of a contradiction eh? Does God teach humility and submission to someone by beating them down even more? I don’t think so.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” – Matthew 5:17-18
I also think that there is a blatant disregard for the finished work of the cross and the grace of Jesus Christ in the book. The book seems to apply requirements of the Old Testament unto us skipping past the obedience of Christ. Our obedience is portrayed as a prerequisite to acceptance by God and not a response to His grace. Utterly amazing. It is as if Jesus never died.
On the other hand, I think that they have defined sin very well. The book offers concrete examples of how sin has been trivialised and compartmentalised in churches and in culture. Its construction of Eve’s imaginary thoughts on the other hand is utter nonsense.
Placing ourselves under Godly authority is important and knowing when to get out from under abusive authority is important as well. It is God who vindicates from abuse, it is Godly wisdom to have boundaries and to honour authority.
“Think like a Calvinist, live like an Armenian.”
– Doc John
Don’t you just hate it when you’re stuck in a meeting and its dead boring and people waffle on about items not on the agenda that is absolutely unrelated to the reason of the meeting, and they do so with passion and gusto. Just bring on the sandwiches already!
I love moving from summer to autumn to winter to spring to summer. I love the seasons.
Life seems to become less of a continuous mess and more like a sine curve, building up and simmering down with every season. It feels like there is a new rebirth everytime a new season comes about, and I mean more than just a change in the weather.
Summer is gone and in comes Autumn.
Hi Autumn, welcome to the world.
“How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d;”
– Eloisa to Abelard by Alexander Pope
Some days I have it good and some days I have it bad. Other days, it doesn’t matter at all.
Today, being married would be the best.