When I was little, my parents taught me the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” A good rule to live by. But something occurred to me this-morning. I was reading in Matthew that very passage, and went on to read the study help in my NASB. What it said there made me stop and think. The message was that too often, that verse is used in the negative; don’t be mean or cause harm to others and they won’t be mean or cause harm to you. But that’s not what Jesus meant. He meant for us to treat each other well, to be treated well. To do good to others, that good would be done to us. Just opposite of what we have always thought, but in some respect to the same end.
God sees the good and bad in all of us. This thought process brought me to wonder; if on the day of judgement we will be judged not for the sins of our life but for the good of our life. I wonder if the good that is in us all really outshines the bad. We have been taught through the ages that God keeps a book, a record of all our sins and that on the day of judgement we will be held accountable for those sins. But what if it doesn’t work that way? What if on the day of judgement, God looks and says “You have done so much good….yes you sinned, but you were charitable in spirit, thought and deed.”
Doing good, and thinking good are different. It’s easy to restrain yourself when you want to lash out at someone who has hurt or offended you. But that’s the problem. The thought is already there. God wants us to have pure thoughts, not just restrain ourselves from acting on the bad ones. You can’t restrain yourself if you haven’t already had the bad thought!
Changing that thought process takes effort. It’s not a Pollyanna view of the world, rather an intended desire to do good always. I wonder if bad thoughts can be derailed with good ones; meaning if I set out to do good always, will that so change the way I think that I end up with good thoughts and actions against those who would hurt me before they can hurt me causing me to have the bad thought in the first place?
If that was what Jesus meant for us to do then we have failed him. We have become a people of “I’m so hurt and bitter that it will take time for me to heal” rather than a people who genuinely want to help each other thereby avoiding the whole hurt/heal cycle all together!