Have you ever stopped to think about the unconventional nature of the Christian life? Have you ever thought about how radical the teaching of Jesus was? If Jesus taught His disciples to live according to His teaching, then the life we are called to live as Christians is a very radical life when compared to the world’s standards.
One simple example of this reality is Jesus’s teaching what we call the “Golden Rule.” “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). In your experience, is this a standard by which the world functions? I feel sure we can all say with confidence, “No! This is not what we see in the world around us.”
Even as followers of the Jesus, we live with a sense of reaction or response. If someone does something nice for me, I’ll do something nice for them. It’s the old saying, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” But what Jesus is teaching His followers is that we are to be proactive or intentional. Think about these words of Jesus again. “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” This involves taking initiative, actively seeking those opportunities to do something kind for someone else. Being intentional and proactive in the way we interact with others seems to be a central focus of Jesus’s teaching throughout the Sermon on the Mount.
As with much of Jesus’s teaching, the Golden Rule is very challenging. Our conventional thought says, “Do to others what they do to you.” The radical teaching of Jesus says, “Do to others what you would have them to do you.” Are you living out this unconventional, counter-cultural life?