The Golden Rule

“Dear God, I try to follow the Golden Rule as much as I can, but I think it oughta be ‘do it to them before they do it to you.’ Is that okay with You?”

Boy, don’t you wish! You can understand what that 9 year-old was talking about. If turning the other cheek was easy, our heads would be on swivels.

Winston Churchill and Lady Astor supposedly went round and round with each other. Neither could stand the other. Notice how they did it to each other:

Lady Astor: “Winston, you are drunk, and what’s more, you are disgustingly drunk!”

Churchill: “My dear, you are ugly, and what’s more you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.”

How about this other quaint exchange:

Lady Astor: “If I were your wife, I would put poison in your coffee.”

Churchill: “If you were my wife, I would drink it.”

Part of me says, “I wish I could think that fast on my feet.” Another part of me, the deeply spiritual part, would say, “Now, now, we shouldn’t talk to each other that way.”

We might not be as clever as Winston Churchill was reputed to be, but we have stung others with our words. You don’t have to be witty to hurt someone. You can “bless his heart” all you want, but the motive of our hearts and words is clear to the One who knows us best.

I guess that’s why Jesus gave us the rule recorded in Matthew 7:12 – ‘Treat others like you would want to be treated.’ The writer of Proverbs noted with wisdom, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). James wrote, “My brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God’s sight” (James 1:19,20).

Regardless of what they say or do to us, we could save a great deal of heartache and regret by abiding by such advice. We live in a hurtful world and it’s certain that someone will do it to us before we get a chance to do it back. By His grace and through His strength, perhaps we don’t have to do it at all. Lord, help!

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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