What Would The World Look Like If We Actually Lived Like This?
Could there be a more universally recognizable quote from the scriptures than this one? It comes, of course, in the middle of the great passage known as the “Sermon on the Mount,” which is a perfect primer for coming to know and to understand what the Christian life should look like. This quote from Luke’s gospel represents a universal truth given to us by God. One of the great ironies of human life is that this divine wisdom appears in the scriptures of every one of the world’s religions. Though this piece of God-given wisdom is known to all, it is a fact that too few of us actually live in accord with it in this world.
G.K. Chesterton once said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” (from: What’s Wrong With The World) This is exactly what could be said about the universal adherence to this powerful truth from Jesus’ great sermon on morality. We might ask ourselves, “What would the world be like if the majority of people lived in accord with this wisdom?” The answer is painfully obvious in the general absence of this behavior in our families, in our neighborhoods, possibly even within our Church communities. Why is this? The answer is in Chesterton’s quote: It is difficult. But as Christians, we know that we can depend on two things to help us live in accord with God’s commands: grace and forgiveness.
One of the seven deadly sins is sloth, or laziness. Laziness is not to be understood merely as a desire to avoid anything that requires hard work, or idleness, or indolence, but as a denial of the value and the dignity of work itself. Indeed, it is a denial of one’s own human dignity. Worse, it is a kind of cowardice. Its remedy is courage which is rooted in faith, hope, and love.
Jesus is calling us to live lives of courage when he asks us to do the hard work of treating others as we wish to be treated. Yes, the fact is that our efforts will often be met with rejection, even anger. It is hard to treat others in the manner we wish to be treated when they respond by ignoring us, or worse by hating us. But why should we expect to be treated any differently than Jesus? As Christian believers, we are to answer the call of Jesus to love one another as he loved us as best we can and, then, to trust that God will take care of the details. For, he will give us the graces we need to accomplish all the efforts we undertake in his name.
Lord, you have given us everything that is good. Your word sharpens our understanding and strengthens our wills. We desire to be your good and faithful sons and daughters, “doing to others as we would have them do to us.” Continue to give us your love and your grace, Lord, that is enough; it is all that we need. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!
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