What was that pesky golden rule again?
When I ask my son, "Why did you hit your brother?" the answer is always, "He hit me first." Do unto others as they have done unto you. Right?
When you had a bad day at work, that jerk cut you off in traffic, and you know tomorrow isn't going to be much better, who do you usually take it out on? Usually those closest to us, those who might actually be trying to make our lives better, like our husband or wife.
Why take it out on them? Well, I was having a bad day. They might as well get to join in my misery. Treat others the way you have been treated.
But that is not the golden rule. At least it is not the one that Jesus gave us.
Sure, the world lives by this rule: Do unto others as they have done unto you...Treat others the way you have been treated.
But Jesus calls His disciples to a different way, the way of the one who fulfills the Law and the Prophets.
"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12)
Treat others the way you WANT to be treated. Do unto others as you WOULD HAVE THEM DO unto you.
All our interactions would be better if we listened to our Lord Jesus on this one (and all others too). Families, work, and especially Church. Think how great things would be if everyone were tripping over themselves trying to treat others in the very best way, rather than the worst way they could get away with.
Make no mistake about it, the world will not return the favor. Vengeance, revenge, spreading the misery around, that is the way of this fallen world. You will be treated by others the way they have been treated.
But we can do better. We can because we have been treated better by Jesus Himself. No matter how horribly people treated Him, Jesus did to them as He would have had them do unto Him. He gave up His life for them. He suffered and died in their place. He rose to give them life. Jesus did this all for you.
That is how you have been treated. By God Himself. So maybe we can also say, "Treat others the way Jesus has treated you."