The “Golden Rule” is not the gospel—-that is, no one will go to heaven by following the Golden Rule or the Sermon on the Mount.
These sermons are policies for living out the Christ life today. The teachings in this context focus on our attitudes. These are Christlike dispositions, not legal duties.
Luke showed us how to demonstrate God’s unconditional love in our attitudes toward others: (1) love your enemies (6:27a); (2) do good to those who hate you (6:27b); (3) bless those who curse you (6:28a); (4) pray for those who mistreat you (6:28b); (5) do not retaliate (6:29a); (6) give freely (6:29b–-30); and (7) treat others the way you want to be treated (6:31). The disciples were exhorted to have the same merciful attitude toward others that God had toward them.
Relationships are built on trust—-that is, each party will protect the interests and needs of the other.
The secular tendency toward reciprocity as the basis of social relationships is motivated by the need for selfish personal benefit in return—-that is, one acts in a generous way in order to make friends so the favor to them can be returned in the future. This social interaction is shallow, self–serving, and corrupting. It is merely another form of manipulation, which builds resentment instead of a relationship.
Our command is similar to saying, “Love your neighbor.” The present–tense imperative means “to be continuously producing, [or] causing something to happen,” especially for the benefit of another person in this context. The Golden Rule has no restrictions, because love is not dependent on the response of the other person.
Our actions toward others should not be determined by their reaction to us. Our objective is to reflect the attitude of God toward others. His patience, love, forgiveness, commitment, and care for sinners become our attitude at all times toward all people.
“My Savior, thank You for Your unconditional love for me, especially when I do not deserve it. Your example from Your word is ever before me. Keep me remembering how You cared for others.”