An Encouraging Command

imagesIt is a positive command—“Do to others.” Conversely, the negative command is—“Do not do to others.”

Last night, I was reading some “biblical” words from children.

“Noah’s wife was called Joan of Ark.

Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Amendments.

The Seventh Commandment is “Thou shalt not admit adultery.”

The Bible says a man is only supposed to have one wife. This is called monotony.

Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule, which is “Do one to others before they do one to you.”[1]

The Jews believed in the negative command—“Do not do to others.” The rabbi Hillel taught these words, “What is hateful to yourself, do to no other: that is the whole law and the rest is commentary.” (b. Šabb. 31a). It is found in Jewish sources—Tobit 4:15 and Sirach 31:15.

But Jesus’ rule is the more complete form for five reasons. One, the positive command can include the negative form. (Hagner) To do to others can include a negative element—not to do to others.

Two, however, the negative form cannot include the positive form. The negative form—do not do to others—cannot include the positive command, do to others.

Three, the positive form of the command moves you to do to others as you would want them to do to you. (Mounce)

Four, the negative form does not require you to do a thing. By not doing to others what you don’t want others to do to you, you need not do anything.

Five, the positive form calls for positive action—to do to others what you want others to do to you. It is not an “ethic of reciprocity.” But it is an ethic of positive action in obedience to God’s will. The negative form, however, is an ethic of negative give-and-take.

In our neighborhood, we would give special food to our neighbor friends, like special cakes, fruits, or delicacies. Our neighbor friends would reciprocate—giving us some fruits. When Jan Marie got sick, the doctor next door treated her without accepting payment. In return, we gave her a special gift on Christmas.

But we give in return to the things we receive. It is a give and take culture. It reflects the Filipino culture of “utang na loob.” (debt of heart)

Jesus is not commanding you to do to others because they do to you. He said do to others as you want others to do to you. Jesus is not requiring us to give and take. Jesus requires us to give to others as you wish others to give to you.

Do you want to be loved? Show love to others. Do you want to be treated well by others? Treat others kindly. Do you want others to forgive you? Forgive others.

[1] “Humorous Quotations from Children,” Religious Tolerance.org. Cited August 9, 2015. Online: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_kid.htm.

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