Text: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Scripture Reading: Luke 6:27-31 NRSV
In the Greek, there are three primary words for love. There is “eran” love, which describes passionate love. There is “philein” love, which describes the kind of love we have for our significant others and friends. And there is “agapan” love, which describes an active posture of benevolence toward another. Agapan love means that “no matter what a person does to us, we will never allow ourselves to desire anything but their highest good” (Barclay). Indeed, agapan love has more to do with the will than with feeling.
So, then, as we consider the meaning of the Golden Rule of Luke 6:31 today, two things stand out. First, is the call upon our lives to treat others as we would want others to treat us, which invites us to reach out to others in a positive, respectful, and proactive way. Second, the kind of love we are being called to extend to others is agapan love…love that is not based on passion or warm feelings, but simply on doing the right thing and acting towards another in a way that only desires for that other person their highest good.
In this time of pandemic, I think it is vitally important we try to live by the both of these ideals. As you know, there are so many urgencies out in our community and world today and so many hurting people who need our help and support. If we are going to try to live by the Golden Rule, then we need to be willing to open ourselves to others, genuinely listen to their needs, and respond with love, generosity, and caring. Why do we do this? Because deep down inside we know God loves and values us and all people the same…and that if circumstances were turned around, we would want and need the same kind of compassion and selfless love shown to us
So, perhaps, today is a good day to look around and see where we might be able to live out the Golden Rule and “do to others as we would want others to do to us.”
Loving God, help us to shine your light of love to others today. In this time of uncertainty, we are given a new opportunity to be a community and to care for others. Enable us to do so with grace and intention. Finally, O God, we ask you to please be with those who need your special touch of hope, healing, and faith today. We trust in your love, O God. Amen.
Focus for the Day:
Today, let us love and serve others in the way you yourself would want to be loved and served.
Author: Bob Livingston