Summary: The most basic footwear of life is mutual love for one another.
This is probably the most universally famous thing that Jesus ever said. With this commandment the Sermon on the Mount reaches its summit. This saying of Jesus has been called "the capstone of the whole discourse." It is the topmost peak of social ethics, and the Everest of all ethical teachings.
It sums up all the MORAL and ETHICAL requirements of men and women who live in society as KINGDOM CITIZENS. This law of Jesus DEMANDS a standard of conduct that far surpasses what the world normally expects. The gift of the Holy Spirit, which all believers possess, allows us to experience a FULLNESS of life that requires us to love one another as God through Jesus Christ has loved us!
Harry Stack Sullivan once said, "The goal of adult love is to arrive at a point, where another’s safety and security are as important as one’s own. The goal of Christian spirituality is to come to the place where our neighbor’s needs and welfare are as high a concern as our own wants and wishes. All these are contained in the words we call "The Golden Rule."
"Treat other people exactly as you would like to be treated by them - this is the essence of all true religion." The newness, the uniqueness of this positive rule of life given by Christ lies in the exhortation (encouragement) to ACT LOVINGLY, to do the THOUGHTFUL, to be CONSIDERATE, to do the SYMPATHETIC thing.
The Golden Rule is NOT unique JUST because it requires a positive action. Many good actions have arisen from evil motives. Positive actions can be positively wrong.
Let’s think for a moment about all the ways the Golden Rule has been TWISTED by society.
In the BUSINESS world, the Golden Rule is changed to "Do it unto others, before they do it unto you."
In WARFARE, the rule is positive yet destructive. Dr. MacIver, professor of Political Science at Columbia University, said, In War, the principle must be - do to the enemy as he would do to you, but do it to them first."
What a vast difference between the human reaction of doing as we are done by, and Christ’s call to do as we would wish to be done by. Christ’s GOLDEN RULE provides a perfect model for deciding your actions and attitudes toward other people.
The Golden rule is balanced to protect both sides against the selfishness that always lurks beneath the surface of our lives. There are moral philosophers who point out that the rule should read "Do unto others as they would have you do unto them." They insist that Christ’s wording, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is very self-centered, drawing the lines by what YOU want instead of what your NEIGHBOR wants.
Here’s the RUB. To always do what your neighbor wants or asks would not be LOVE - it would be indifference to the needs of the other. It would be tantamount to being a slave to the wishes of another.
The Doctor would give heroin to an addict just because he wants it. The teenage girl would surrender sexual favors to her boyfriend because he wants it. A woman gives booze to her alcoholic spouse because he wants it. A landowner gives half his property to his neighbor because he wants it. A parent gives a six year old child a loaded weapon because he wants it.