How to Live Out the Golden Rule (A Bible Study on Matthew 7)
In Matthew 7, Jesus speaks of not judging others, of not giving away what is holy to dogs, and of seeking and asking the Father for help. These three points, when taken together, create a powerful message about how we should live our lives. This is the passage of scripture that liberates the church from experts. It’s not too hard to interpret, but it’s challenging to truly apply and live it out.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
First, Jesus speaks of not judging others. He says, “Do not judge so that you may not be judged, for with the judgment you make, you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get” (Matthew 7:1-2). This is a reversal of our natural tendency – to be lax on ourselves and critical of others. But Jesus wants us to believe the best in others. This is a reminder to us all that we should not be so quick to judge others. We should be careful to not be hypocrites, and instead, look at our own flaws before we point out those of others.
Second, Jesus speaks of not giving away what is holy to dogs. He says, “Do not give what is holy to dogs and do not throw your pearls before swine or they will trample them underfoot and turn and maul you” (Matthew 7:6). This is a reminder to us to be careful about how we share our faith with others. We should not be so quick to share our beliefs with those who may not understand or appreciate them.
Finally, Jesus speaks of seeking and asking the Father for help. He says, “Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives” (Matthew 7:7-8). This is a reminder to us that we should not be afraid to ask for help. We should not be afraid to turn to the Lord for guidance and strength.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME?
1. God wants to give good gifts, just full stop. When you come to Him in prayer, he wants to give you gifts. When you come to Him each day, He wants to give you gifts. Every day is ripe with the possibility of good gifts. What gifts is God giving you today?
We often approach God as if I'm trying to get my act together. I'm trying to clean myself up. And God's saying, listen you love your children no matter what state they're in. Don't you think I love you so much more than that?
2. Are you loving others the way you want others to love you? The golden rule: in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you, for this is the law and the prophets. This might require some creativity. What do you want someone to do for you? And are you willing to do that thing?
Rev. Rachel Toone joined Montreat College in July 2018 as the Dean of Spiritual Formation. She holds a B.A. in Theology from Whitworth University, an MDiv. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and she is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at Trinity School for Ministry. Rev. Toone is an ordained teaching elder by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. When she is not working, Rev. Toone enjoys traveling, hiking, and reading old books.
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Nicole has spent twenty years serving the local church, first in student ministry (where she’s never lost her love of a great group game) and then leading start-ups of all kinds, from leadership development to capital campaigns. She now teaches and consults with churches and ministries to strengthen their stories and cut through confusion to discover the next right steps for success.