Many of us know the golden rule. It's a rule we've grown up learning about and have taught to our children. It's a powerful rule found in scripture, trained, and modeled by Jesus. But, like many biblical principles, it can become less effective if it's not properly connected to our current context. The golden rule focuses on treating others the same way we would like to be treated. It's a rule that mirrors the great commandment. These verses and this standard of living are a culmination of everything we read about in scripture.
When the great commandment describes 'Neighbor,' it's not referring to a geographic location. Communities in this period did not get divided into neighborhoods. When Jesus used the word 'neighbor,' he referred to people who were different. In Jesus's context, to love thyself was a reference to loving people who are like us. People who are related to us and people who have similar interests and beliefs. Jesus knew it would be easy to love people like us and knew that the ultimate expression of the gospel is when we love people different from us.
In the good Samaritan story, the backdrop for describing the great commandment, we see the Samaritan break all cultural barriers by helping the Jewish man who was beaten and bruised. This story illustrates what it means to love our 'neighbor.' Jesus gives us a clear picture of what's most important. There are many things this story highlights for us as followers of Jesus. This study will help us understand the implications of what matters most to Jesus and how it changes the way we live as his followers.
The good Samaritan story calls us to live at a higher standard. It's why I call it the Game Changers Rule. As followers of Jesus, we live in a way that changes the world around us. The Game Changers rule says, 'Do for others REGARDLESS of what they can do for you.' Too often, we do for others what we hope they will do in return for us someday. We treat others well because we hope they will treat us well. We don't spend much time doing good for those who can never repay us. For many, our lives don't put us in proximity to interact with people who are different than us. People we can invest in REGARDLESS of what we will get in return. The Game Changers rule is a game-changer for our world and for the people we engage. When we love people, who are different than us, regardless of what we get in return, the world gets to see the most significant expression of the gospel we believe.