The Golden Rule

By: Elder Dan Kitchens

There is a “get even” attitude prevailing in our world today. You know, “I don’t get mad, I just get even!” To some it’s called “even the score.” Such as, “You got my cat, so I’ll get your dog.” It’s like the young boy and his dad driving down the road and happen to see a dog running down the road. The young man says to his dad, “We better stop and get that dog before someone comes by and steals him.” This prevailing attitude is a lot like the problems in the far east. “This land is mine for the taking.”

Some folks can’t wait to get even or even up the score against another and some feel justified by whatever tactics they might use to do so. Jesus let us know that whatever the problem, there is a proper and orderly way to handle it. And that is the Word of God, which is God’s way and not our own.

We are living in a time when men are unafraid to vent their anger, spew their venom, air their feelings and resentment against those who will not bow to their every wish and way. Character assassination seems to be the name of the game today, and all in the name of Christianity. This is a rumor-mongering, mud-slinging, back-biting, evil-devouring generation that will go to extremes to get their way and justify

We love to feed on gossip and tales told us by idle men who have nothing better to do with their time. The bigger the “rumor,” the better we love to hear it. This generation reminds me of the tale of
Little Red Riding Hood and the big bad wolf: “Grandma, what big eyes you have!” “The better to see you with my dear!” “What big ears you have!” “The better to hear you with my dear!” “What big teeth you have!” “The better to eat you with my dear!”

“Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” Gal 5:7, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Gal 5:14. If we hate it when idle tales and rumors are told on us, why must we tell and receive them of others? “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” Gal 5:15. “This is my
commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12. It is truly hard to speak evil about those we really love. It is hard to speak evil about those we pray for, and hard to pray for folks
we talk about!

I thank the good God of heaven for men who have been my teachers and taught me what principles and ethics really are. I was taught to hold on to my friends who preach this gospel. I was taught to fellowship men by the “message” they preached and on the integrity of their lives. Not by whether or not I agreed with everything they did or not. How can I not fellowship and preach for men who stand for the only message of Salvation and their lives are clean before God? Who am I to be a “closet detective” and a judge of them based on “rumors and accusations,” without me first going to them to find out the facts.
What’s wrong with calling the hand who has dealt the cards of accusation and having them face the accused? Or, are we afraid we might find out the truth that we have only been deceived and fed a line of gossip which is untrue?

My pastor taught me that “accusations” are not “guilty verdicts!” One must be proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt to be judged so. Even though a man may sin, the Bible teaches us how to judge him. “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” 2 Th. 3:14-15. Rumors don’t count, there must be facts!

Reading from the Pulpit Commentary, I found a word rarely used today. It is called censorious, or critical, fault-finding. It seems to fit this day rather well. It is dealing with passages of scripture
pertaining to judging. “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?”
Rom 2:1-3

Quote from the Pulpit Commentary: “Sometimes it is our duty to judge others. When it is our duty, we are safe, if we do it with pity for the sinner and with grief for the dishonor done to God. It is a duty full
of danger and temptation; there is a need of much prayer and self examination and careful scrutiny of our own thought and motives. When it is not our duty, it is never free from the danger of sin against the
law of love. Censoriousness is one of the great blots of social intercourse. People who have nothing else to talk about, talk about others; they discuss their conduct; they impute unworthy motives; they
repeat slanders; they exaggerate them; they take sinful pleasure in condemning others; they often sin against the ninth, continually against the ‘new commandment.’ And these unchristian judgments imply self-righteousness, pride, hypocrisy; they usurp the prerogative of the Great Judge, who alone can search the thoughts of the heart; the commandment of the Judge is, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ And surely those who judge their brethren harshly take part rather with Satan, the accuser of the brethren, who accuses them before our God night and day!”

Jesus said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24. In 1 Samuel 24 & 26 God, no doubt set David up to see what he would do with Saul. Thank God, David passed the test! Oh, Lord let us have the spirit and attitude of David! David’s friends encouraged him to slay Saul! David refused. Just because our friends support you in an evil thing does not mean that God does! “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Prov 6:16-19. God surely must hate us when we imagine and presume evil against others. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Gal 6:7

It is time that men come together. If there is a basis for accusation, notify the accused! Let’s get together and settle our differences. “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts. Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts:” Zech. 7:9-13

Let us consider the adversary of our souls who only seeks to steal, kill, and destroy our souls. “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have
fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” 1 Pet 4:7-8. “Though I speak with the tongues of men andof angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a
tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, theyshall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”  1 Cor 13:1-8

The Bible is filled with how to treat your brother! “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” Lev 19:16-18. “Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.” Ex. 23:1. Some may say, “How was I to know it was a false report?” Why not just take the time to call the accused, let them speak for themselves!

Just because you and I do not agree with a man does not give us the right to take in his saints and make his church “open season.” We had better know what we are saying and doing when you take a stand against the Lord’s anointed! I remember well our precious older brethren, many who have gone on to their reward, preaching, “Save God’s Man!!” If we don’t rescue God’s man it will be impossible to save God’s saints. I am afraid if these precious men of God were still around today, we would all get the scolding and rebuking of our lives. I weep often when I think about the principles and doctrine these men taught me in days gone by, and I cannot help but remember their fervent love, honor, and
respect they had for one another, even though they often stood on opposite sides about the way they felt about certain things. I had much rather be accused of being a “compromiser” and let God be my judge,
than to sit back and allow my heart to be filled with bitterness, hatred, envy, jealously and strife. Being accused of being a compromiser would be better than actually being a tale-bearer, rumor-mongerer, a
sower of discord, having an evil eye or wicked imagination.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” Psa. 51:10-13.

Solomon, the wise man, said, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Eccl. 12:13-14

If I keep my own heart right with God, nothing else matters. There are just some things that are totally out of our control. God help us to recognize the invisible enemy of our soul who is causing us to focus
our attention on the visible, causing us to fight one another to our owndestruction.

“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Rom 13:10