Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Luke 6:27-36 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Love for Enemies
27 “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.[a] Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
In Luke 6:31 we find the Golden Rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus puts it this way, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12) The whole law and the prophets—in other words all of scripture—is summed up in the Golden Rule.
The Golden Rule is perhaps the only commandment that is found in all the major religions of the world:
Confucianism – Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state. (Analects 12:2)
Buddhism – Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. (Udana-Varga 5,1)
Hinduism – This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you. (Mahabharata 5,1517)
Islam – No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. (Sunnah)
Judaism – What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. (Talmud, Shabbat 3id)
Taoism – Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. (Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien)
Zoroastrianism – That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself. (Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5)
Notice that the Golden Rule in nearly all the religious traditions is in the negative: Don’t do to others what you would not want done to you. Jesus puts it in the positive: Do to others as you would have them do to you. The life to which God calls us is more than refraining from doing harm. It is actively doing good. Imagine the difference in our world if everyone lived by this simple, nearly-universal Golden Rule.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster