The Unabridged Golden Rule
You’ve heard it many times; do unto others as you would have them do to you. To put it a different way, treat people the way you want to be treated. This is commonly referred to as The Golden Rule. Did you know that this is only the second part of a two part command?
Here is the complete Golden Rule.
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)
Love your neighbor (other people) as yourself. Immediately we have to ask, “What is love”? And not only what it is but also, “How can I love other people as I love myself”?
Certainly, everyone will have an answer in some form or another to both questions, and those answers will shape their understanding of love and their ability to express it. This is why I believe that the first part of the command is far more important than the second. The first part is the substance.
Jesus was saying that in order to truly love people, you have to love him (God) first. To the follower of Christ, what is love apart from God? What is the Golden Rule apart from God?
Who do you love?