I received the most incredible gift this week. A cherished high school friend contacted me about a month ago and said she had found a cross stitch that she had started as a wedding present for me in a box in her basement. It reads,
Be unto me kind and true as I be unto you.
I’m sure you recognize this as a kind of “wedding version” of the Golden Rule. We were all raised on the Golden Rule, which instructs us to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Did you know that the Golden Rule comes from scripture? Here it is in the Message version:
Luke 6 (The Message)
31-34 “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!
There is a lovely irony for me in this. Several decades ago my friend painstakingly stitched the Golden Rule onto a sampler and this month she completed it and mailed it to me with some of her beautiful homemade cookies to match. She isn’t just stitching the Golden Rule, she is living it out. She is treating others with love, care, and respect, much as she would hope to be treated in return.
Read what the rest of the passage says:
If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.
35-36 “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.
What a powerful example for us today. My friend gave her time, talent, and resources so that I might have an incomparable gift for my upcoming 40th anniversary in November. I can never hope to repay her and she knew that when she completed the work she began so many years ago. I am deeply humbled and inspired. I hope you are too.
How can you live out the God-created identity that Luke is talking about? Can you be generous? Can you help someone today? Where is God calling you to be gracious to someone who can’t possible return what you give?
Our Father is kind: you be kind as well. You’ll never regret it.