Thursday 25 February 2010

Bible Book:

"In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets." (v.12)

Matthew 7:7-12 Thursday 25 February 2010


Like every messenger of God, Jesus exposed wrongdoing - peoplecausing hurt, acting cruelly or violently, or oppressing the poor(in brief, being evil and wicked).

But he also remained confident about the capacity of women and mento act sensibly and responsibly in their day-to-day relationships.Jesus observed the obvious - that people know how to address theirown needs, wants and interests ("Ask and you will receive" etc) -so we achieve the outcomes we look for because we target our energyappropriately. Similarly parents know how to act responsiblytowards their children, so as to meet their basic needs and wants(verses 9-10 of our passage).

Human beings can also get beneath the skin of someone else anddiscern what the needs, wants and ambitions of the other person arelikely to be. "If I were in their shoes, I know what I wouldwant..."

It's one thing to understand what another person wants, it'sanother thing altogether to do anything about it. Jesus moves usfrom observation to moral choices. Will I treat that other personas I would want to be treated in their position? Jesus makes itclear that that is precisely what God wants. The 'golden rule'(verse 12) is the very essence of all that God has revealed anddemanded throughout the Jewish Scriptures. It inspires us to treatour neighbour with mercy and gentleness, patiently, and withoutbeing pompous or 'holier than thou'.

God, of course, is not in any sense flawed or ambiguous as humanbeings are. God is purity and pure goodness. God cannot be lesssensible and responsible than a good parent. So God's love andmercy are freely given to those who ask. And God also knows howbest to meet the particular needs of each person before they ask,because God understands people from the inside. Disciples of Jesus,wanting to obey the golden rule, will therefore pray to God to helpthem to do that. Disciples who put into practice the golden rulebecome the channels of God's love.

To Ponder

Who are the people you find it most difficult tounderstand and empathise with? How can your fears and antagonism beovercome?

To what extent is it possible to put ourselves inthe shoes of someone who has behaved very badly? Can love andpunishment be held together?

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