The Golden Rule

Matthew 7:12

A number of you might recall Art Linkletter’s show “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”  Here are a number of quotes from an old email that circulated the internet years ago on children’s definitions of love.

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.”
Rebecca- age 8 

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.  You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
Billy – age 4 

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.”
Karl – age 5 

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.”
Chrissy – age 6 

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.”
Terri – age 4 

“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.”
Danny – age 7 

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”
Bobby – age 7 

“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.  He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.”
Cindy – age 8 

“My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.”
Clare – age 6 

“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.”
Karen – age 7 

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.”
Jessica – age 8 

One more.  Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.

Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said,  “Nothing, I just helped him cry.” 

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Love.  How would you define it?  How would you describe it?

Here are some well-know Bible passages on love.

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.  Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”

John 3:16 (and 17)

The story of God’s love for us in and through Jesus—His birth, His life, His suffering, death and resurrection—is the greatest story of love ever.  Jesus’ love teaches us that true love is not in what we receive from others, i.e. how they make us feel, but in our words, attitudes, thoughts and actions given for the welfare and benefit of others.  

You might recall the saying, “The love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay.  Love isn’t love until you give it away.”   Genuine love is when we get ourselves off of center stage, get past our feelings of hurt, abandonment and loneliness and reach out to others past ourselves.  

The key verse in our worship bulletin this morning is Matthew 7:12: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Parallel to it is the summary of the Decalogue that Jesus gives us in Matthew 22:36-40

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Love.  Thursday is February 14th, Valentine’s Day.   

Love is something that you and I know something about.  There are many examples of love here in our congregation.  The love of a couples having celebrated decades of life together, and you can see the love and warmth in their eyes as they look at each other, and care for each other through sickness as well as in health!  Today we even have one of our coupes celebrating their love by getting married.  

The best way to deal with our feeling empty and incomplete—lonely—is to focus outside of ourselves.  Give yourself away like Jesus does for you and me.  This type of love is not romantic, sexual love.  It is love that is rooted in honoring and caring for those around us and treating them as we ourselves would like to be treated—with kindness, gentleness and respect.  That type of love makes life worthwhile.  It is the real key to being a Valentine.  

In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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