Subtle shift, giant leap
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7.12
The so-call "golden rule" has been around for a long time and is common to many religions. But it is usually expressed negatively - ie don't do to others what you wouldn't want done to you. Jesus flips the phrase to make it a positive command: Do to others as you would have them do to you. Can you appreciate the difference?
Negatively, the saying merely calls for restraint, in the best tradition of common sense. One might say to a child in the playground: Don't hit the other children in case they hit you back. It's damage limitation! But what about if one was to say: Go out of your way to be kind because that is how you would like the others to treat you?
Consistent with other exhortations - go the extra mile, turn the other cheek - Jesus' version of the golden rule invites us into his mission to transform the world into a better place, where harm gives way to healing, despair is replaced by hope and where enemies become friends through reconciliation.
In Strath & Sleat today we are marking Freedom Sunday. Jesus accomplished all of the above through his life, death and resurrection. He has blazed the trail along which he beckons us not simply as liberated victims but as agents of the liberation. So, as well as sharing Communion, we shall be supporting the International Justice Mission.