‘In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.

Matthew 7:12

By Molly Duvall

Often, it is much easier to follow the phrase, “An eye for an eye,” than it is to live by the Golden Rule. However, in Matthew 7:12, Jesus instructs us to “do to others as you would have them do to you” (NRSV). As I have thought about this scripture, it has seemed to me that it is a proactive rule that had a second, unwritten part; that if you treat others the way you want them to treat you, they will do the same for you. That is not what it says though. God wants us to treat others the way we wish to be treated in all circumstances – both proactively and reactively. It is the reactive part that tends to be the most difficult for me. When I feel hurt or wronged, it is much easier to err on the side of “an eye for an eye,” but that is exactly when the Golden Rule is most important. It is in the times when others have caused pain or made a mistake that it is critical that we treat others how we would want to be treated. This is when the compassion, forgiveness, and grace that we desperately want to feel in times of being in the wrong, become so very important in the qualities we show others. Treating others as we wish to be treated can be used in all circumstances, and that is exactly how God intended it. This is an imperative scripture for us to live by to show God’s light throughout this world – to show what it truly means to be Christians.