If you drive long enough, you’ll see the bumper sticker. “Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.” It’s meant to be a direct jab at a deeper saying, a principle stated by Jesus.
The original meaning of the Golden Rule is to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Golden Rule has taken on both positive and negative forms, dispersing itself across religions and philosophies. The positive form follows Jesus’ logic of doing good toward others as you want them to do good toward you. The negative form says that you should not do evil toward others since we also do not want them to do evil toward you. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” is an example of the negative form. However, this negative form leaves a door open for vengeance. The positive form, as expressed through Christ, forgives and blesses in spite of evil.
While other religions have adopted this similar concept, Jesus went as far as to include it in the greatest commandment. “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength and with all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’” Jesus went on to tell the story of the Good Samaritan. In this parable, a stranger of a different ethnicity crossed the path of another. The other was robbed and beaten. For all the stranger knew, the man was the bait of a trap waiting for some innocent do-gooder to stop and become a real victim. I remember the first time I heard the term “rubber-necking.” We were stuck in a slow-moving clog of traffic, only to discover an accident that had happened on the other side of the highway. The police and amublance were there, but rubber-neckers were slowing down just to look over and satisfy their curiosity. Jesus called the religious pretenders of his day “stiff-necked.” They didn’t even care to satisfy their curiosity, let alone muster the empathy to turn aside. The Samaritan faced the same test. The stranger could have safely passed by and eased his conscience with the possibility of the band of thieves and their likely traps. Instead, the stranger put himself in the spot of the victim and chose to do good toward him. He went beyond rubber-necking and rubber-feeling to the pliable, stretchy effort of rubber-reaching.
This story was not preached in hypocrisy. Jesus went to the most dangerous place for us, and He did become the victim of our circumstances. More specifically, Jesus left Heaven’s atmosphere to enter the curse of our world. Here, he chose to have sin’s curse inflicted upon Him, just to bring us to a place of safety. He saw us longing for Heaven but lacking the perfection required, and He reached out with His arm of atonement. He took our place so we could be in His place.
So another glance at the bumper sticker demands inquiry. “He who has the gold…” Here stands another philosophy chased by countless world leaders and entrepreneurs. The power and influence supposedly held in the amount of wealth. Those in poverty are herein looked down upon, the captive and hopeless. In this world, money in the form of bribes and military power would appear intimidating. Christianity has spoken otherwise throughout history. If the fumes of emotions and religion were the hope of the disciples, Christianity would be long gone. Rather, Jesus words became a powerful reality. Doing good in the face of evil really does work, for those who know the payoff is deeper than currency or karma. There’s a government which has no end, a kingdom of eternal reward, with a philosophy that encompasses heart, soul, and mind. Jesus’ eternal kingdom rewards eternally, both now and forevermore. Now, remember the image at the top of this article? Here it is again:
If we really are counting gold, God still wins. Wouldn’t you like to be adopted by the wealthiest guy, ever? The Bible says God adopts us when we accept Jesus as our Savior. The reality of our poverty lies in our spiritual poverty. As fallen humans, we cannot attain perfection without Jesus’ redemptive mission. All you have to do is accept it. When He fills your heart, He changes you in a way that sees the Golden Rule through His eyes. You’ll carry an empathy toward others as if they were closer than a sibling. It’s so much more than religion or philosophy. That’s Jesus’ way. And that’s rubber-reaching.
rubber-reaching – (phrase) To go beyond mere curiosity, to reach out dangerously in order to help another. One great leap above rubber-necking. What the Good Samaritan did, sacrificing his own safety for the rescue of another. Best done with God-given wisdom, courage, and love.