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Homily for 0/26/08 - P19 - Golden Rule

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  • Fr David Moser
    Luke 6:31-36 The first part of this gospel is familiar even to those who have never read the Bible and serves as a motto for many who are not even Christians.
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 27, 2008
      Luke 6:31-36

      The first part of this gospel is familiar even to those who have never
      read the Bible and serves as a motto for many who are not even
      Christians. It is the so called “Golden Rule” - “as ye would that men
      should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” This is a good rule to
      follow in our lives in our relationships with others. If we treat others
      as we ourselves would like to be treated, then many of the conflicts and
      difficulties that come up in our lives could be managed quite easily. As
      followers of Jesus Christ, we must not neglect this rule. For us it is
      not just a slogan or a motto, but it is a commandment.

      In the Gospel, this commandment does not stand alone but in order to
      understand its true meaning we must look at the whole context within
      which it is found. Just prior to giving this commandment, our Lord spoke
      of some other characteristics which we must exhibit as Christians, to
      love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, to give not only what someone
      asks (or would take) from you but give him more, to lend without the
      expectation of return. All of these things He sums up by sayings “as you
      would that men should do to you, do also to them likewise” When viewed
      as a summary of these teachings, the “Golden Rule” takes on much more
      meaning and significance than it does by itself. Following the “Rule”
      here, in the portion of the Gospel we just heard our Lord tells us that
      if we only do good or lend to those who act in such a way towards us
      then it has limited spiritual value – but we must go further than simply
      to do good or give to those whom we judge as deserving of these things
      (because they are good to us or are trustworthy to repay or use well
      what we give). To follow the Golden Rule as Christians means that we
      will love even our enemies, that we will do good to those even who curse
      us and return evil to us, that we will give to others regardless of
      whether they will repay or will use our gift wisely. This goes far
      beyond the way that the world uses this saying of the Gospel. When we
      follow the “Golden Rule” we who would follow Christ do so not as the
      world does, but we do as our Lord does.

      The heart of this rule is that we tend to love ourselves more than
      anyone else and so we will treat ourselves better than all others. If we
      treat others whom we love less in the way that we would treat ourselves,
      then we naturally begin to follow the second great commandment after the
      love of God – that is to love your neighbor as yourself. However, as
      Christians, we have the first great commandment to go before this love
      of neighbor – that is to love God with all our heart and soul and mind
      and strength. No longer do we love our own self above all else, but God
      has been given that place in our lives. Now when we love others, the
      supreme love of self is no longer the measure, but rather we love them
      as God has loved us. We are no longer the standard by which we measure
      our love of others; God is now the standard towards which we strive.
      When we treat others as we ourselves would wish to be treated, we must
      now look not at how we love ourselves, but how God loves us. When we
      come before God we see all of our sins, all of our unworthiness, and all
      of ugliness – and yet we crave of God forgiveness, we desire that He
      will give to us good gifts even though we do not deserve it, we pray
      that He will not act out of justice but out of mercy towards us. The key
      to properly understanding and implementing the Golden Rule is our own
      humility before God and His love for us.

      All of this is summed up and restated in the final instruction from the
      Gospel that we heard today, “be merciful, just as your Father is
      merciful”. Here we see the true meaning of the Golden Rule. It is not an
      injunction to treat others as we would treat ourselves, but rather to
      love others as God has loved us; to give to others as God has given to
      us; to do good to others as God has done good to us; to be merciful
      towards others, even as God has been merciful towards us. To treat
      others as we ourselves would wish to be treated is nothing less than the
      call for us to become like Christ, to act not as a fallen man, but to
      act instead as God Himself would act. This is a standard that the world
      will never be able to understand but which for us Christians is the
      center of our lives. We no longer live for ourselves alone, but rather
      we die to ourselves and Christ lives in us.

      When we consider the Golden Rule, let us then consider the true meaning
      of that rule, that we should do unto others as we desire for God to do
      unto us.

      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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