“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12) But what if I don’t like myself; feel shame and guilt; wish harm on myself; believe I deserve judgement and punishment? Jesus gave me the “thumbs up” to do all that to other people? Doesn’t sound very Jesus like.
While I am no Bible scholar, the “Golden Rule”, as it’s known, comes from a single versus within three chapters of the book of Matthew, aka, “The Sermon on the Mount”. It parallels Mosaic law that says you should not do to someone else what you don’t want done to you. And has been connected to Jesus’ “new commandment” in the book of John to “love others as I have loved you”.
So, now that we have that out of the way, I struggled with the Golden Rule until I looked at it as a part of its whole, rather than thinking it was as simple as pulling out 11 words and knowing exactly what He meant. When I look at them in context, these 11 words seem to be a commandment of self-care (which is awesome because self-care is often seen as selfish but hey, Jesus commanded me). I can only stay for me personally, that during the many times in my life I felt unworthy to even dare breathe oxygen from this earth, I believed that all of the chaos around me was deserved. The boyfriends that didn’t treat me well? I deserved it. The chronic pain? I deserved it. The strains on family relationships and friendships? I deserved it. The voice of “ick” that said I was selfish for being a burden? Totally right. I was a gymnast, I learned at a very young age that “perfect” actually is possible and you should try to attain it. I carried for a very, very long time that anything less than perfect was not acceptable, I should be ashamed when I fell short of it and deserved whatever came my way. You couple that with the crazy that comes with mental illness and let me assure you of this: no one on this planet wanted me to treat them the way that I believed I should be treated.
When I hear the Golden Rule, I have to remind myself to treat others in the ways I want to be treated when my brain is functioning as close to “normal” as it possibly can. I also have to remind myself, when “normal” and my brain aren’t in the same sentence, that I need to be more vigilant of not letting my “ick” treat others in ways that it thinks I should be treated. We are living in a world of hurt people who find an ever multiplying array of ways to hurt each other every day. Sadly, some go so far as to think that “hurt” and “love” look alike so they stay in situations they shouldn’t and the cycle of generational abuse continues. Hurt people, hurt people.
I think if Jesus were walking among us today, He would look at our very messed up world, call a timeout and remind us of all of the ways He showed us the grace and mercy we don’t think we deserve and to treat ourselves well because we are the daughters and sons of a King. And then when we remember that we are loved more than anyone on this planet could ever show us, we can in turn treat others the way that we want, and believe we deserve, to be treated. Healed people, heal people.Self-care isn’t selfish; loving yourself isn’t egotistical – both are necessary if the command wrapped up in these 11 words is going to be carried out as He intended. A King left His throne to enter a world so that the broken, lost, forgotten, sick, sinful, outcast folks would be able to know a love that earth had never offered them. He didn’t do all He did so we could put all those labels back on ourselves and then heap them onto each other. He came to heal hurt people so healed people could heal others.
Treat yourselves as the healed person you are and you won’t be able to help treating others the way you want to be treated. Be good to yourselves y’all – Jesus said so. ♥