Daily Prayer Reflection: Has the Golden Rule gotten tarnished?

Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. Colossians 3:12-14

But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you...Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. Luke 6:27-32

Ouch. That is the only thing I think every time I read these words of Christ. Well, "ouch" and "d'oh!" I'd say many of us probably read this thinking...oops - I'll get it next time... Unfortunately, our lives aren't to be lived for "next time" - we're supposed to embrace this now. What really strikes me about this passage is not the Scripture alone, but the impression that people make when they actually live in this peace and kindness.

Off the top of my head, I can think of a handful of people whom I have never heard say a nasty word about anyone. That's not to say that they haven't been upset or frustrated. Instead, it is to say that their reaction was not one of gossiping or badmouthing those who were the culprit of their frustration. It's easy to judge, saying "oh, they're just fake!" And yet, there is this undeniable peace in their spirit that exudes an honest joy, even in their sorrow.

Today, that characteristic is, unfortunately, rare. Judgment falls before mercy and compassion. Pride edges out humility. Infatuation and addiction replace Love. Fear overcomes trust. This is not what Christ intended for those who call on His name! "Fear not!" "Love one another..." "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts..." That, dear friends, is what our Lord calls us to.

Faith, hope and love - it's not just a trite verse to be used at weddings - it is a way of life to be seated at our very core. It is a way of life that lets us lead with mercy, to love without fear, to live with the knowledge that all we are is by the grace of God, and what a privilege He has given us - each and every one of us. It is what helps us to live out that Golden Rule. Has the gold tarnished in your own life?