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Building a life on the Golden Rule

March 17, 2023

Daily Scripture

Matthew 7:1-14

1 “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. 2 You’ll receive the same judgment you give. Whatever you deal out will be dealt out to you. 3 Why do you see the splinter that’s in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when there’s a log in your eye? 5 You deceive yourself! First take the log out of your eye, and then you’ll see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s or sister’s eye. 6 Don’t give holy things to dogs, and don’t throw your pearls in front of pigs. They will stomp on the pearls, then turn around and attack you.
7 “Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Whoever seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door is opened. 9 Who among you will give your children a stone when they ask for bread? 10 Or give them a snake when they ask for fish? 11 If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. 12 Therefore, you should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you; this is the Law and the Prophets.
13 “Go in through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it. 14 But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult, so few people find it.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Matthew (Luke too—cf. Luke 6:31) said Jesus taught “the Golden Rule” (“you should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you”). Scholar William Barclay noted the breadth of Jesus’ command: “The attitude which says, ‘I must do no harm to people’ is quite different from the attitude which says, ‘I must do my best to help people.’” * “Don’t judge” did not mean we should not evaluate people’s actions, especially harmful ones, but as we do, we must remember our limited knowledge.

  • Jesus said the Golden Rule held the deep spiritual essence of “the Law and the Prophets.” What people or conditions make it hardest for you to truly treat others as you wish they’d treat you? The Rule also applies to how you treat yourself. “In the same way we are not to judge others harshly, we are to remove ourselves from relationships in which we are judged harshly.” ** Are there any situations in which you need to remove yourself from someone else’s harsh judgment?
  • Jesus never gave in to the urge to promise an easy road. He said, “go in through the narrow gate” and “the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult.” Jesus’ path, though not always the most comfortable, is always best in the long run. When have you had to choose between one way that was easy but wrong, and another that was difficult but right? What did you decide?

Lord Jesus, keep me healthily aware of my strengths while still being able to honestly “take the log out of [my] eye” before trying to correct or “improve” others. Amen.

GPS Insights

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe & his wife, Doris, first met in a Resurrection Single Adult Sunday School class in 1997 & were married in what is now the Student Center. They are empty nesters with 2 college-aged sons, Matthew & Jacob. Darren serves as a Couples Small Group co-leader & Men's Group Leader, while volunteering in a variety of other capacities at Resurrection.

Having recently returned from a Resurrection trip to the Holy Land & sat on a hillside where the Sermon on the Mount may have been preached, today’s blog is going to read more like a Fodor’s Travel Guide than the traditional Insight you typically expect. (Your posts & “traditional” have never appeared in the same sentence – Editor.)

Aside: After touring the 5th box/container factory, we realized we should have read the fine print about the “Complete Package Tour.”

The Holy Land is often referred to as the Fifth Gospel. Seeing the places where Jesus walked & taught can allow the traveler to be immersed in His life, not just read about it. But this trip is so much more than “Who, What, Where, & When.” I fully expected to experience several “God-moments” that stirred my faith–renewing my baptism by being fully immersed in the Jordan River, or praying at the Western Wall, or touching the rock at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place where Jesus is believed to have died on the cross.

However, in hindsight, traveling around the Holy Land permeates your entire spiritual walk-–from Bible reading to rituals like communion to hymns. It’s as though your entire faith walk is amped with steroids. Here are just a few examples:

Aside: Not all travel monitors are the same. Unfortunately, we had a rather cheap version. Its directions were simply, “You’re getting warmer, warmer. Wait. Now you are cold, cold, cold!”

Singing the lyrics “…sweetly singing o’er the plains & the mountains in reply” while looking over the fields where it is believed the shepherds were tending their flocks the night of Jesus’ birth will forever impact the familiar hymn, “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

Aside: TSA Agent: “Sir, why do you have a stick in your luggage?” “I always fly with my travel log.”

Crossing the Sea of Galilee, one could easily envision Jesus on a boat looking at the same shorelines & experiencing the same breezes & sunny weather. When Pastor Adam shared a Pastoral prayer for one of our fellow-travelers who had been injured, I closed my eyes & readily imagined Jesus, Himself, pausing to share a similar prayer for a woman He may have seen on the shoreline or who was experiencing some physical suffering.

Hearing Rabbi Art Nemitoff discuss the significance of the Passover celebration while we were standing in the Upper Room where some scholars believe Jesus shared the Last Supper tweaked my perception of that evening from just a powerful coda for Jesus’ time with His Disciples to a continuation of God’s story of caring for His children.

Listening to the hustle & bustle of the city of Jerusalem while in the Garden of Gethsemane, one couldn’t help but experience the total abandonment & despair of Jesus as He prayed, “Not My will, but Thine.” He, too, would have heard all the commotion as people went about their Passover celebrations, with them never realizing that just a few yards away the Son of God was spending His last earthly night in agony. It is a humbling reminder to never take His love & His sacrifice for granted nor let our day-to-day routines distract us from our faith walk.

Psalm 88 will never sound the same after hearing it read while standing in the pit where Jesus is believed to have been held that fateful Thursday night/Friday morning while the religious leaders debated His fate.

Finally, the trip also reacquainted us with old friends & formed new life-long friendships. When you chat about spiritual questions & faith-based experiences at each meal, it can be like cramming a years’ worth of small group conversations/gatherings into 10 days.

So, what might this journal of memories & moments mean for us today?

  • When making your bucket list of travel destinations like The Largest Ball of Twine or The Idaho Potato Museum, be sure to include a trip to the Holy Land.
  • In the meantime, what are we doing to super-charge our faith? Maybe volunteering on a Saturday at Faithworks will change our impression of the hymn, “Here I am, Lord.” Perhaps attending a Sunday School class after church will help deepen our understanding of the Gospels. Maybe walking through the Prayer Walk outside the sanctuary will give you the time & space to fully perceive the Peace of God.
  • Finally, when it comes to our faith walk, perhaps we should heed the mantra of our tour guide, G.K.: “Hobbi Hobbi,” which he translated to mean: “Let’s go, people, Shake a leg.” (This is a phonetic spelling – Editor.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to set up the screen, projector & fill 9 carousels with my 458 slides to show our boys this weekend. (And they thought the movie, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” was a long movie. They ain’t seen nothing yet.)

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of Matthew, vol. 1 (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 276.
** Danielle Shroyer, reflection on Matthew 7 in The CEB Women’s Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2016, p. 1221.