“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7:12)

Most of us probably know this verse as “The Golden Rule.” But the Golden Rule did not originate with Christianity. The idea that we should treat others as we would want to be treated is found in the teachings of many religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. It’s even embraced by those who don’t hold any particular religious beliefs at all. It seems to be something that many understand innately. But is there something different about this idea as Jesus explains it?

Perhaps its location at the very end of this passage can help answer that question. Jesus has just spoken about how generous our heavenly Father is. So what else could possi­bly follow but that we should imitate his generosity? This is the new com­mandment that Jesus gave to his disciples: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” (John 13:34).

However, Jesus isn’t speaking of a mathematical equation here—as God does, so we need to do. No, he is saying that our generosity can be just as spontaneous and natu­ral as the generosity of a father who likes giving good gifts to his children. We are all temples of the Holy Spirit, and that means that we have some­thing extremely valuable to give out. We have the mercy, compassion, wis­dom, and strength that come from the heart of God living in us! That “cup” of grace we have received is so full that it can’t help but overflow out of us!

Loving others as Jesus loves us goes beyond the Golden Rule. God wants us to be his light in the world. Consider the words of St. Teresa of Avila: “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours.” Every day, in every moment, God has a purpose for you that extends into eternity. That purpose includes everyone you come in contact with, from your spouse, children, and friends to the clerk at the grocery store and the home­less fellow on the street. If you bring Jesus into all these relationships and let him shine through you, there’s no telling what he can do!

“Lord, today I surrender everything to you. I want to do nothing without you. May all that I do for others be done for love of you—and in the power of your Spirit.”

Esther C:12,14-16,23-25; Psalm 138:1-3,7-8