What things should we ask God for? How should we respond to receiving gifts? Going through the book of Matthew backward helps to teach an important lesson.
I have a question for you. I have a question for you. Have you ever read a book backwards? I have. I know, some of you are thinking that's no surprise, but I do it quite often. Many times, many of us who use research books or analytical tools, will skip around in the book — the reference book that we are using — and it's important. But such will be the case today when we study, and I have been going through the book of Matthew in our series on Matthew, and we will begin at the end and work our way toward the beginning.
Now, last time I spoke to you I gave an analogy of birds and flowers. I don't use Power Point, I don't know how to use it. I don't use it — too much technology to lug around. Mr. Fish is exceptionally good at it, as is Mr. Register — I think everybody has used it but me. I prefer props. I had a flower, but I didn't have a bird so somebody handed me one. I didn't have a bird to show you and they felt that you had been robbed, so there's the bird to — oh, his head moves and everything. Great. Thank you very much. I won't tell you who gave this to me. I can't shut — this thing doesn't want to shut off.
Matthew chapter 7 . Where will we start in Matt. chapter 7? In reading the verses 1 through 12 , which is what we will study today. We are going to begin where Jesus ended and in fact and indeed, this verse is one of the most popular, one of the most oft quoted, both by religious and by secular authors. In fact. the entire world knows this verse. Let's read it,
Matt. 7: 12 — "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Everyone knows that verse. We know it, typically, as the Golden Rule. It has been repeated in many other religions. There is a Jewish saying that is called the Silver Rule, said just a little differently. And I found no less than ten to fifteen different references to this type of idea, that we are to do to people what we want done to ourselves. That asks and begs a lot of questions, but we begin here where Jesus finished. We do so because many times when you have read a novel — when you have read a novel — the ending is important. When you watch a movie, the ending is important. Sometimes we are disappointed with an ending. We don't expect what we see. It was a great book, a tremendous book, a great movie! We get to the ending and it's a lousy ending and we'll say to ourselves, that was a terrible ending. What a beautiful book or what a great movie! And that is why many times authors, as you know, or playwrights or producers, they will experiment with different endings. Some very, very popular movies, 'Gone With The Wind' was one where they tried two or three different endings before audiences that they tested and they wound up with the ending that they did. They tried to stick to the book, but authors will change the book and they want a good ending. A good story and a great ending. Here, we have a great ending, a tremendous ending; a very, very important ending. But how did Jesus arrive here? Are the verses that precede it, are they important? Do they have anything to do with this last very, very important Golden Rule, as we call it?
Verse 12 — "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law, this is the Prophets.
It presumes a very, very profound question, a profound question. It asks, what do you want? Not, what do they want. What do you want? Do you want riches or power, fame? You know, keep going, right? Power, riches and fame. We heard it in the sermonette and we heard it from Mr. Petty. Everyone is trying to stuff this non—whole they have inside themselves with those three things — riches, power and fame to go along with your obvious great beauty. What the Sermon on the Mount has been saying to us all these many weeks in all these chapters is, that is what the world focuses on. But more importantly, what do you want? What is important to you ? The poor — the poor of the world want to be what? They want one thing. They don't want to be poor. They want to be rich. The rich and the ultra-rich, they just want normalcy. They just want to be normal. They want a simple life. I've never seen the show, but I've seen it advertised where, I guess, one of the Hilton heiresses — it's called The Simple Life or Simple something, I don't know what it is — where they just want to be simple people. "We're worth half a billion dollars, but we want to show you how normal we are." So, the poor want to be rich; the rich, they don't necessarily want to be poor, but they'd like to be at least normal. I remember when I was a young man, Mr. Hilton, Baron Hilton, on his sixth marriage said, "With all my billions, all my wealth, I wish I could have just one good marriage with someone who really loved me." It's all he wanted.
The question that we ask concerning what we want requires great care. We must be very careful what we say that we want because often we will get it and then we must use it. Be careful what you ask for, what you say you want because you may get it.
But it does beg the question, should we be given whatever we want? That's what we are going to be talking about today. Should we be given all that we want. When I was 18 — when I was 18 and it seems so long ago — I knew what I wanted. I knew what I wanted at 8. I knew what I wanted at 18. The things that I wanted at 8 weren't the things that I wanted at 18. When I became 28, it changed again completely, utterly. At 48, the things that I wanted or thought that I wanted didn't resemble anything prior. I would never have guessed, never have imagined that what I thought I wanted at 48, I would have thought of when I was 18. Times change. Verse 12 proclaims to us that you should give to other people what you want for yourself. So it's very, very important for you to decide what you want for yourself. What do you want? And that's what we'll explore today in Matthew in just these few short verses. We're not going to go anywhere else, we're going to stay pretty much in this chapter. We're going to be asking what it is that we are asked to do for others based upon the things that we desire. To answer this, we are going to read some of the verses that build up to this very, very important verse, probably the most well—known verse in all of Matthew — all of the New Testament, and for many millions of people, the best known verse other than John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×in all the Bible. So, let's read verses 7 through 11 where there are more very familiar — not just to the Church, but to the world — more profound and memorable sayings.
Verse 7 — "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Verse 8 — "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Verse 9 — " Or what man or father is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
Verse 10 — "Or if he asks for a fish, he will give him a serpent?
Verse 11 — "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give you good things to those who ask Him!
Then comes the Golden Rule: do unto others. Verse 12 — "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Sounds like we get what we ask for. All you have to do is (knock, knock, knock, knock) knock; all you have to do is ask; all you have to do is just seek. That's all you have to do.
Now, let's interpret this. It says about a father or man, the son asks for bread, will he give him a stone? He asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? He, being evil, knows how to give good gifts to his children, how much more will God give? Let's interpret this. Is it saying that parents are to give their children everything they ask for? Now, I'd like those of you who are under 16 years old — those of you that are 16 and under — how many of you believe that you should be given everything that you ask for? That's what I thought. They're applauding quietly. Or is it to be interpreted that children always know what they want, children always know what they want from their parents? Or does it mean that parents should only be required to give their children bread and fish? How many parents agree with that? No applause. Did you know that in Jesus' ministry these are the only two things that He Himself gave or multiplied — the fish and the bread? He turned wine, but He multiplied only fish and bread. So fish and bread are important symbols. Can it also be interpreted and can we say from these verses that this much we know, we are evil. We are evil. These are questions that Jesus gives to the people to think about. He asks them about the importance of giving to children. Giving to children is very, very important. In this society it has become all—important. All—important. Every Christmas season we see this near—frenetic mass rush to buy for children or young people — and adults, I realize, but children, especially — because if we hold back from our children, we are what? Bad parents! What parent, what parent is there — and this is Jesus' question — doesn't want to give their child the very, very best. There is no parent that does not want to give their child the very best — the very, very best. That's what parents are for.
Bill Gates recently addressed a group of young people and he gave them a number of points to ponder. This is from Bill Gates. Many of you may have heard this, this is making its way through the email circuit. I'll just give you a couple of them. He sat in front of these younger people and said, "Life is not fair. Get used to it." "2) When you finish school, if you finish school, you will not walk into a $60,000 a year job with a Lexus." He said, "You will have to earn the things that you are given."
I once observed a situation where a young man at his job was angry that one of his young fellow employees — we're talking the 16 to 25 year—old range — one of the fellow employees pulled up in a brand new — not used — a brand new BMW 745i. Now, for those of you who don't know as I didn't, I was told that this is a $60,000 to $70,000 vehicle. So this young person pulled up in this car into the employee parking lot. Mommy and Daddy had bought it for him. This young person was livid — livid! Imagine how his parents felt. Right? "How about a used BMW 745..." No! No! But the father told the son that that young man's life — the one with the 745i — his life is over when it comes to things, for all his life he will expect only the best given to him because at a very young age, a very young age we, as people when we're children, are impressionable. I feel very, very sorry for those parents who did that. I feel even more sorry for the child because he will expect that all his life.
In these verses, thought, in these verses Jesus asked us to to think, what parent among you would hand your child a rock or a stone when your child has asked for something to eat? Who among you when your child has asked for fish... something to eat, would hand them something that would hurt them or kill them? Yes, we read in the paper — not every week, every day — of a parent who has done just that. They are abnormal. They are becoming more and more evident to us, but they are still very abnormal. So, Jesus is talking about a normal parent and a normal child. The point is, parents will give good things to their children. He then says,
Verse 11 — "If you then, being evil that must have stung "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will God give good gifts? God is not evil. It asks a question though it doesn't actually say it. So often, it is not what Jesus said, but what He didn't say. He is asking here who is the child? Who is the child in these verses? Is it talking about a parent/child relationship? Kind of. But He is using it as an extension for what He is trying to prove. Who is the child here? We are. We are the child. Who here is the parent? God is the parent. The analogy of father to child is the same as God to us.
Do children know what they want? Sure they do. I did. I was 8 and I knew what I wanted, but I didn't know how to get it. I didn't have a job, but I knew what I wanted — or thought I did. I can remember when our kids were little during the Feast of Tabernacles, we would ask them what they wanted for the Feast and they were very, very sure three months out what they wanted for the Feast. As the Feast got closer and closer, it changed. Right? "No, no, no. I don't want that. I want this." It usually got bigger, what they wanted. But when you only give them ten bucks there's not much they can get anyway.
Well, we all think we know what we want whether we are a child, young adult or an adult. We think we know, but do we? As I told you, and I can only speak for myself. I haven't got a clue. I haven't got a clue. As I look back on the things that I thought that I wanted and needed all my life, a lot of times I got them and they weren't that important once I got them. They just weren't that important. It's funny how we don't learn, how we just plain don't learn. If we in this analogy as children do not understand, can't possibly understand what good things to give or what we want, how can we possibly ask God? If we are as the children here, we just don't understand — and even as parents I can tell you, we really have a hard time figuring out what is the absolute best thing for our children. It's not that easy, is it, parents? Kids, your folks are trying as hard as they possibly can to figure out what's best for you. We will — we have — made lots and lots of mistakes. The warning is — we don't plan on it — we will make lots more. But we try and give you exactly what we think you need. We may pray about it, think heavily about it, but we are not always sure it was the best thing to do for you. So if we don't have a good, clear idea what to give our children — and God says that we, being evil, more times than not do give good things — how in the world are we going to ask God for the right things? And if we can't ask God what we don't know we want, how are we going to give what we don't know to other people? It falls one on another. If you don't know — and I submit I don't know and I think you're vague on it — then how can you do for other people? That's what this verse, verse 12, asks. And in the preceding verses — we're work backwards — Jesus, indeed, will show us as we get to the beginning which will be our end of the verses, what all people want.
We heard about it last Sabbath. We heard a little bit about it in the sermonette. We heard about it even in the beautiful special music — always so lovely. I tried to listen and dwell on the words that Mrs. Helge and Mrs. Roybal were playing and singing and I thought, there is something that all people want. All people want this.
In verse 6, Jesus throws in a very enigmatic verse. He says,
Verse 6 — "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
This has been variously interpreted do not preach the gospel to the Gentiles. That is rejected because of what we read in Matthew and in Luke. It also talks about people who will be total unbelievers irrespective of their nationality. Possibly that's what it means. But overall it says to not give things that you know are holy, special — do not cast your pearls before those who cannot and will not and don't want to understand. It's a very, very enigmatic scripture, but He throws it there and possibly for further study.
We now arrive at verses 1 through 5 at the beginning. We arrive here. Jesus had built up to this point where He concludes with the Golden Rule: we should — we should want men to do to us what we do also for them. He has told us that it's important to understand what it is that you want. What is it that you want? It's something we ask children all the time, isn't it? "What is it you want, honey?" They have trouble expressing it. They don't really know, don't know the right words, are afraid to ask. He tells us these things because we are the children here. But we do need to understand what it is that we want because we will see that other people want it just as much as we do. We will see in these short five verses a tremendous amount of what is His intent and what His object is in giving us the Golden Rule that we know so well — that the world knows so well and has so much trouble applying: doing unto other people as we want them to do to us. How we do it and what we do to other people and why we do it will be explained in these five verses, so let's read them.
Again, very famous verses, no?
Verse 2 — "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
Verse 3 — "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
Verse 4 — "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck out of your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
Verse 5 — "Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
All of these are well known, well-rehearsed verses, but they're all placed here together and I think they're place here for a reason because they build on one another. What does it say? It says to not do something. Typically, as Jesus' method is, He tells us not to do something, but it is not so much what He says as what He implies — what He doesn't say. He says to not judge that you be not judged. The word there in the original is the word krino . It also has a sister cognate called katakrino — judge and judgment. It has to do with acting as judge, jury and executioner. I know none of you do that, so let's talk about me. I acted as judge, jury and executioner with that miserable Toyota on the 210 in the carpool lane. The person sitting in row three — we won't point him out, but that's okay — he cut me off. We do that, don't we? We are judge, jury and executioner — I'm kidding, that person isn't here. Then again...
We do this constantly. We may not think it is too harmful and a simple "get out of the way" is not a problem, but when we act condemning, when we act as the judge, Jesus says to not do this. He says that we should not judge. He says, for in the manner that you use it, it will be measured back to you. It's talking about the way that we do it. That's what that word, measure, means — it actually means a yardstick or something that you use to mark something off. It's how we do it. He says not only to not do it, He elaborates. He says, in fact, if you do do it, the way you do it will come back on you. It's called reflexive. It's very powerful.
The rabbis — you knew this was coming, didn't you — had something to say on this. In the Mishna it says, "By the same measure by which a man metes out to others they mete out to him." It says of a woman, "she primped herself for sin, but the Omnipresent One made her repulsive. She exposed herself for sin, the Omnipresent One exposed her. With the thigh she began to sin and afterward with the belly. Therefore one suffers the curse first and afterward the belly." It says of Sampson, "He followed his eyes thereafter to the Philistines. And the Philistines laid hold of him and put them out." We know it happened to Sampson. His eyes were put out. Absolom was proud of his hair and therefore he was hung by his hair. And it goes on and on, this reflexive idea of the way that we treat other people. God says, "Fine. We'll treat you that way."
When we're parents, we tell our children, "You will get your own medicine. You will get a taste of your own medicine." It sounds harsh, doesn't it? That's exactly what God says. That is exactly what He says. The way we treat other people which seems right in our own eyes God says, "We'll see about taking care of you that way. We'll take care of you in being judged that way." It sounds very, very severe, but that's what He says. It is reflexive. In verses 3 and 4 He says,
Verse 3 — " why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
Now I had a few conversations with some brethren recently and I need to tell you it was very, very interesting, if I can get my notes here. Here they are. These are the 'specks' that I found. I don't know if you can see these. Oh, here's a few more. Whoa, whoa. Whoa. Then I had a talk with my wife as I was still hunting for 'specks' and I found some specks and all she said was, "Go look in the mirror." (Tap, tap — the sound of wooden sticks striking.) That's what He's talking about. We hunt for these (referring to the 'specks') — hard to find. You have to do a lot of searching. These (wooden sticks) are what we have. How well do you think we can see with these in our eyes? (Tap, tap, tap, tap.) You can't. That's the point of His message here. This is the point of the analogy. We can't see it. We can't see it, yet we think we can see these. The word 'speck' in the original means sawdust. Sawdust. He uses extremes as He does over and over again. He says, "You are looking for sawdust and you have a log..." I couldn't get a log in here, it wouldn't fit under the lectern, but you get the point. Jesus says this is what people do.
Verse 4 — "How can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck out of your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
It's interesting that when we look for these specks, we not only look for them, we try and remove them. It's one thing to look for them, it's another thing to try and remove them. That's talking about finding fault and then correcting it. God says don't judge. Don't be a judge because, if anything else, we're not qualified. We know elsewhere in the New Testament it says to not judge a man's servant so this is a very serious thing. So He gives these two stages. He says they don't do it and why do we look for specks — and He goes further — and then try and remove them. He calls those people that do that hypocrites. He says first remove these. One would think it would be kind of easy, right? It would be kind of easy. So why don't we, is the next question. It says,
Verse 5 — ...you will be able to see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
And I think here, Jesus puts tongue—in—cheek. He says,
Take the plank our of your own eye... verse 5 ...and then you will see clearly.
No kidding! A little bit of maybe sarcasm or humor here? You will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother's eye, but only after you remove it from your own.
A very interesting quote by an author who has since passed away, John Scott. He said, "The command to judge not is not a requirement to be blind, but rather a plea to be generous. Jesus does not tell us to cease to be men (or women) by suspending our critical powers which help to distinguish us from the animals, but to renounce the presumptuous ambition to be God, setting ourselves up as judges." That's what happens when we don't focus on ourselves. Recently I saw a show on TV — I don't remember what it was, it doesn't matter — but it was about a husband and wife arguing. Right? And the wife says to the husband, "Honey, it's not all about you. It's just not. It's not all about you." Jesus says just the opposite. It is definitely all about us because, He says, we are not to take care of judging other people, we are not to look for specks in other people's eyes, we are to take care of our own eyes.
As Passover comes upon us very, very quickly — we are already beginning to plan, to put things together for Passover here — it is never too early to examine yourself. Voltaire, I think it was that said, "The life unexamined is not worth living." Jesus asks all of His people, as children and as parents, to examine ourselves, to look at ourselves so, indeed, that we can understand whatever we want men to do for us, we are to do for them because, He says, it is the law and it is the prophets.
There is a connection here to another portion of the Sermon on the Mount and it's not too far away. There is one verb in the Sermon on the Mount in the prayer we call The Lord's Prayer. It is a verb repeated two times in succession and, in fact, has a cognate and it is the only verb translated twice and possibly three times. If you will turn — it is probably right across the page in most of your Bibles — chapter 6 of Matthew and verse 11 . We can see the connection of what Jesus is talking about. He says in verse 11,
Give us this day our daily bread — bread — bread comes up again. Bread was a staple, it was foundational. Then He says,
Verse 12 — " And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
It is a conditional phrase again, just exactly — exactly as in chapter 7, verses 1 and 2. He says, forgive us just as we — in this same manner, with the same measure — that we forgive other people. They go together. You want to be forgiven, forgive. Isn't that the thing? Isn't that the hope? Isn't that part of the great whole that people are trying to stuff into that empty hole? Isn't that what people long for, the one thing people long for? I asked someone recently, I said, "What do you think is the number one goal of the people of God in the Church of God wherever they may be — believers, we'll call them believers — what is the number one hope?" That person said, "It's to get to the kingdom of God ." I would agree. That is the goal, that is the goal: to be accepted into the kingdom of God ; to be with God and Jesus Christ for ever and ever and ever. That is the goal. That is what we hope for and wish for most. And yet, and yet it is through forgiveness and mercy that we receive, which is the method to get into the kingdom. If there is no forgiveness or mercy for us, we will not see the kingdom, we can not see the kingdom. It is impossible. Mercy and forgiveness, non—judging, are the methods, the paths, the way into — in fact, Jesus uses this later in chapter 7 — it is the way into the kingdom of God , the thing that we want so much more. It is through these things: forgiveness and mercy. We do not want judgment, we want to be forgiven for the things that we know above all other people. You have no idea the things I've done. I have no idea the things you've done, nor do I want to know, nor should I know, nor do I need to know. I do not need to know the specks in your eyes and I surely don't want you to know about the logs in mine. That is the idea of forgiveness.
Some may say, we want justice. I don't want justice. I do not ask God for justice, because if we get justice, if I got what I deserved, I wouldn't be going into the kingdom! Some will say, I want fairness. I don't want fairness. I don't want God to be fair. If He's fair, I deserve death. That would be fair. That would be just. And that is the problem. People will say, "I want to be understood. That's all I want. I want to be understood." No, people that want to be understood want justification for what they've done. What we really want is forgiveness because down deep, deep inside whereas the song — special music — said, where we want shelter, where we want peace, where we want safety. We want safety away from the wrath. We want safety away from the storm, not the storm that blows outside today, with the terrible storms that California had a month ago. We want to be taken away and sheltered from the judgment. The judgment. If we can make it past the judgment of God, we will be in the kingdom. The only way to have that happen is through being forgiven and being given mercy. Therefore Jesus says, verse 1, chapter 7
He says to be careful, to understand because He says in verse 12,
Therefore... verse 12 of chapter 7 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you...
What do you want them to do? Forgive me. Show mercy, compassion for the things that we know that we have done. That's what we want. That's what we really, really want, isn't it? Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you or for you, do to them. Do to them. I don't want anyone getting me a cup of water. I can get my own cup of water. I don't want anybody giving me five dollars, I can get my own five dollars. It is much, much more hard or difficult to hand out mercy, it is much, much more difficult to hand out forgiveness, because Jesus says in no uncertain terms in the first part of this chapter, we need to be careful how we do it. We need to be careful why we do it. We are to give to others what we wish for most deeply, most profoundly.
In little ways we can do this. In everyday ways we can do this. We can first start with those whom we know, with those whom we love in the house of God. Jesus says, and Paul says, and the New Testament says, and all through the Psalms — the Old Testament — it is the household of faith where we begin. We kind of work on each other first. We kind of 'guinea pig' each other. I thought one of the statements Mr. Petty said was most profound. It's a little harsh, but I though it was very profound, very true. We're all here, brethren, not because we're healthy. He says we are all here because we're sick. We had two people baptized last Sabbath. Why? Because they felt they were sick — not physically sick — sick at heart. We asked them three questions. We asked them their name, publicly. "What is your name?" We asked them, "Have you repented of your sins and accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?" I explained to them, Mr. Register was gone so the three other elders, we all filled in and each took a part. I said, "I'm going to ask you three questions. If I get a 'no' to any of these three questions, we're getting up out of the water. I need to hear three yeses. What is your name?" The first question. Number two, "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?" Number three, "Have you repented of sins against God's holy and righteous law?" "Yes." "Yes." "Yes." "Your name?" "Yes." "Yes." Down we go. And they are with us and we are glad they are part of the body. This is a group of people who aren't quite healthy. We need help. We're a little sick and so, because of that, we work with each other first. We forgive and understand — and I know we do that. I see it. The elders talk about it. We see it. But this is who we work with first before we go out to the world. We don't want to 'guinea pig' the world.
And Jesus says exactly that. He talks about father/son; He talks about brother; He talks about the Law and the Prophets. Only the Church of God knows about the Law and the Prophets. He said because this is summed up with the Law and the Prophets and to any audience that Jesus would speak these words to, ' whatever you want men to do to you, do to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets' would immediately jump to their minds.
Leviticus 19:18 Leviticus 19:18You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
American King James Version×— ... love your neighbor as yourself... their neighbors were their brethren. Their neighbors were the household of faith.
So in little ways we do this. In little ways we give a gift because that's what this chapter is about, giving a gift.
Matthew 7:7 Matthew 7:7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you:
American King James Version×— "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
It's talking about receiving a gift. What is it that we are to seek and to ask for? What are we to seek and to ask for? What are we to look for constantly through our lives? We are to look for, expect and remember forgiveness. This is from the beginning of chapter 7, verse 1 all the way to the culmination of the Golden Rule. We are to ask and to seek forgiveness from God. And we are also, because it is a gift from parent to child, we are to emulate that as God gives us occasion in little ways. We save no one by forgiving them. We do not save them, but we practice back what we have been given as a gift. We give the gift in some small way to someone who needs it — this forgiveness, this understanding, this mercy, this non—judgment — because, indeed, God does give good gifts. We know that He gives good gifts because of an example, because what is the greatest gift that one can give? The greatest gift that one can give is to give of himself and, indeed, that is what God has done through the sacrifice of His Son, His only Son, Jesus Christ. He gave of Himself.
So remember, when we read this Golden Rule, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them for this is the Law and the Prophets that you have an opportunity in some small way to emulate what has been done for you. Jesus says in these verses, "Go and do the same."