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The Golden Rule (Part One)
Paul admonishes us in Ephesians 4:32 to "be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." As Christians, we have a responsibility to be kind, especially to one another in the church.
There are many ways we can show kindness to others. We can be considerate, compassionate, generous, helpful, sympathetic, empathetic, merciful, thoughtful, or just friendly, depending on what is needed.
In Luke 6:31, Jesus gives us what has been called "The Golden Rule": "And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise." We can use this to form the basis of our understanding of kindness. Whatever kind thing we would desire others to do for us, we should do for others.
We all are familiar with the Parable of the Good Samaritan, found in Luke 10:30-37:
The Bible does not mention how much money the Samaritan made, but Matthew 20:2 informs us that a denarius was a day's wage for a laborer. We will assume that he had a decent job, making the equivalent of $25/hour. Over an eight-hour day, his "day's wage" would have been $200, meaning that he gave the innkeeper $400 for the injured man's needs! This generous donation is in addition to what he had already spent on the man the previous day. Whatever the actual cost was, we can figure that it was more than 40% of what he made in a week—and he offered more if needed. The Samaritan went out of his way to be kind to a total stranger.
Deuteronomy 22:1-4 instructs us regarding our responsibility to be kind to each other:
If we can update these verses to make their application more clear for us today, we could paraphrase this as:
God's way of life is a way of outgoing concern for the good of others. It is offering a hand to help others to do what they cannot do for themselves. It is doing what we can to heal an injured situation.
Romans 12:10 in the English Standard Version commands us, "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor" (emphasis ours throughout). In Galatians 6:10, Paul also writes, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." There are so many ways to be nice to people, and so many people to be nice to. Just look around.
In Part Two, we will see that God has given us a special gift to enable us to practice acts of kindness for each other.