January 3, 2023

Living Out the Golden Rule

Written by Shana Schutte

Do to others what you want them to do to you.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 3, 2023

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:44-45

I don’t remember the first time I heard the Golden Rule, but I believe it was when my 6th grade teacher shared it with me and my classmates to remind us not to be unkind to one another. At the time I didn’t know that this special Rule was a commandment of Christ—and I also didn’t know that it’s not just about avoiding being mean. 

In Matthew 7:12, Jesus said, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (ESV).

Since first hearing Jesus’ words in this scripture, there have been times when I have felt as if I’m doing well because I am not actively doing evil to an enemy or someone who has hurt me. I am not repaying evil for evil. That’s pretty good, right? 

But this is not what Jesus meant. He didn’t say, “Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.” Instead, He said, “Do unto others what you want them to do to you.” 

Without seeing this scripture as positive in action rather than passively avoiding doing evil, we can still hold onto resentment and think we’re doing the best that God asks of us. 

For the most part, it can be easy to avoid harming others who have harmed us. It simply means not actively engaging with them. But it can be very difficult to take the initiative and do something good for them. 

When Jesus said, “Do not repay evil for evil” that’s easy enough. But when we make the commitment to follow God’s will one step higher to fulfill the rest of scripture to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21) well . . . that can be just a little more difficult. 

When I think about this truth of actively blessing my enemies or those who have been unkind to me, I am challenged. 

Is there anyone in my life I have avoided doing evil to, but I have also avoided doing good to them? 

Am I soothing my ego by believing that because I haven’t been unkind that I am pleasing the Lord? 

Is there anyone I need to bless through action so God is glorified, my ego is put down, and humility is increased in me? 

Jesus is always interested in the condition of our hearts so I must ask myself, “If I avoid doing evil but don’t do good, what is my heart condition?” 

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).


Lord, help me to obey you, not only let go of grudges, but also to do good to my enemies. Help me so that I do not deceive myself and believe that I am pleasing you because I am not repaying evil for evil. Help me love in action the way that you love, and not just avoid doing others harm. Amen.


Ask the Lord to speak to you about today’s devotional, then do good to someone, rather than just avoid doing bad to them.

Related Reading

Matthew 19:26; Romans 12:14-21; Leviticus 19:18

Worship Resource

Kyle Sigmon: Love Your Enemies


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