Jesus told His disciples, “In everything … treat people the same way you want them to treat you” (Matt. 7:12). Most of us refer to this code of conduct as the Golden Rule.
In theory, we’d probably agree that this is a good foundation for a healthy relationship. Yet it’s tough to live up to such a standard. If we made a list of the ways we hope to be treated and compared it with our own behavior, we’d likely fall short.
And of course, it’s easy to love when others treat us well. But how do we respond when their behavior is hurtful or unpleasant? The truth is, Jesus meant for us to love others all the time, not just when they’re lovable. Regardless of their attitude toward us, we are to think about the relationship qualities we value—like loyalty, trust, encouragement, forgiveness, acceptance, and protection—and let these flow from us in the other person’s direction.
Unfortunately, our society breeds selfishness, greed, and pride, which are enemies of the love Jesus commanded. But when we care for others in the way the Lord prescribes, relationships can thrive and deepen.
Treating others with this kind of love isn’t natural or easy, especially when people are unkind. In fact, loving as Jesus commanded is impossible on our own. But when we trust Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit empowers us and lives His life through us.
Take time to list the ways you hope others will treat you. Then ask, Is that how I treat people? Pray for God to reveal one area where He will help you apply the Golden Rule.