Church columnist: The Bible builds better communities
There is a great deal revealed in the Bible about how people are supposed to relate to each other. Despite the Bible’s many detractors, not many will argue against the wisdom of “The Golden Rule” (Matthew 7:12), and similar passages. I have even read books on business ethics that appeal to “The Golden Rule” for the standard of conducting ethical business.
Think about what a difference it would make in our local community if the majority of people conducted their daily affairs, and interacted with those around them, by this one rule.
“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
When Jesus said, “for this is the Law and the Prophets,” He meant that by following this one simple rule a great deal of the moral code of the Law would be fulfilled. That is, for example, when the Law said, “You shall not covet” (Exodus 20:17), just following “The Golden Rule” would take care of that.
If your manner of conduct, and the way you relate to those around you, is based on that one rule then coveting what is someone else’s would be out of the question. You wouldn’t have to worry about breaking that law, and so many others, because you wouldn’t want someone to do that to you. You wouldn’t someone to cheat and defraud you, would you? Then don’t cheat and defraud other people. It’s that simple!
Or, what about Paul’s council on how to relate to your community? How much difference would it make in our local community if the majority of people related to each other in this way, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard of good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:17-18).
Just think what it would be like if people’s first response to a perceived wrong being done to them wasn’t to respond in kind. Someone thinks they’ve been done wrong so they retaliate against the other person and next thing you know, you’re in a full blown war with your neighbor.
What would happen if, instead of retaliating, we turned around and did something nice for them? Leave it with God and do the right thing regardless of what the other guy does! Paul says that as much as it depends on me, I’m supposed to be at peace with everyone.
If you applied that rule and I applied that rule, then we would always be at peace with each other. Unfortunately, it’s not always up to us and the other person makes it impossible for us to be at peace with them.
However, if we are following the “The Golden Rule,” and truly seeking to live as “peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9), then we typically will not find it difficult to “live peaceably with all men.”
It is not God’s will for people to be violent or hateful toward each other. There are so many rebukes and instances of punishment from God for the sin of violence — not self-defense but violent aggression toward another — none could deny the fact that God hates violence.
When God destroyed the earth by water in the global flood of Noah, it was because “the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11, 13). When Job defended his innocence before God, he said, “no violence is in my hands” (Job 16:17).
David, whom the Lord restricted from building His Temple because he was a warrior who had shed blood (1 Chronicles 28:2-3), said, “The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates” (Psalm 11:5).
One of the seven things that are an abomination to Him (Proverbs 6:16-19), is “hands that shed innocent blood.” Part of God’s rebuke against Israel when they were punished with captivity was that “the land is filled with crimes of blood, and the city is full of violence.”
There is no question about it, God hates violence. What a shame that our community is so full of something God hates! Not to mention all the other things that He hates about the many ways we sin against each other.
It is my constant prayer for my city, my county, my country, my world, that we would truly strive to live according to “The Golden Rule” and “seek peace” (1 Peter 3:11).
Peter says that if we want to “love life and see good days” there is just four simple things we must do: 1) refrain our tongues from evil; 2) speak no deceit; 3) turn away from evil and do good; 4) seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:8-12). What a wonderful community we would have if more people truly sought after that kind of life and “good days”!