Is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” a biblical statement?Question: "Is 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you' a biblical statement?"
Answer: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," commonly known as "The Golden Rule," is indeed a biblical principle. Luke 6:31 records Jesus saying, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” This statement is in the context of a lesson from Jesus about loving our enemies. Jesus took the conventional quid pro quo method of treating people and turned it on its head (see Matthew 5:38-48). Rather than doing to others what they have done to us or giving them what they may deserve, we are to treat them the way we want them to treat us.
In Matthew 7:12 Jesus says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Thus, the Golden Rule has always been a basic part of the Bible’s message. Later in Matthew, when asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus responded, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). The night of His arrest, Jesus said to His disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). Jesus’ love for us is perfect, unchanging, and self-sacrificial. Our capacity to love others the way Jesus commands comes only from our experience of His love and from the power of the Holy Spirit.
One practical way to love others better is to imagine ourselves in their shoes. When we pause to think how we might like to be treated in a certain situation, we build empathy for those actually living in that situation. Do we like to be treated with love and respect? Then we should give that gift to others.
Recommended Resource: Jesus' Sermon on the Mount: And His Confrontation with the World by D.A. Carson
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Is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” a biblical statement?