The footnotes in Matthew are more abundant than in 3 Nephi. This single verse is known as “the golden rule” and is an injunction to kindness. But the wording is such, that the Lord doesn’t just say “be kind,” but rather “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,” Use your faculties to judge righteously, and bless others as you would receive a blessing.
One of the first footnotes that I am exploring on this verse is that of Good Works. It strikes me as motivating, both as a entrepreneur and as a good citizen, that the types of work that I employ my time in are the very things that I would want or desire that others would engage in. I love good works, companies that build successful businesses based on ethical principles. That’s so important to me. The golden rule, not the bottom line, should be the predominate variable in all business-making decisions.
Why do we try to separate the very substance of our day-to-day work activities from the principles of truth? We are talking about work, we are talking about how we interact with others, we are talking about how we benefit others with our work. The power is within us to do good work.
Continuing Courtship in Marriage
Another footnote from the Matthew verse directs me to consider this council in the marriage relationship.
Paul counseled: “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband,” (1 Corinitians 7:3). Benevolence isn’t a word we use much any more, but it can be equated with kindness, a reminder that this marriage relationship is the most important one in which to render kindness and good intent to one another.
Then there is the classic injunction in Ephesians where Paul tells the wives to subject themselves to their husbands as we do to Christ within the Church. And then the husbands are told to be as Christ to their wives. I don’t know which is harder counsel to swallow personally, but both place an almost impossible standard for marriage relationships. This is how it must be though: men out to love as Christ loved. Women ought to submit to their husbands as if to Christ. The council is two sides of the same coin, submission or love. Are we not both being asked to conform to a higher law?
The imprint of nature is upon me this morning, realizing that in the creations that so abundantly surround us here in this fertile place, there is also life, and if life then there must be love and giving.
Another footnote has taken me to Proverbs 24. It feels as if my life had been aligned to consider the counsels found herein this morning. I asked myself if I could receive instruction from the creations that are around me? The Spirit of the Lord confirms such a notion. But then I read in Proverbs:
30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.
32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.Proverbs 24:30-32 (emphasis added)
These are the verses that immediately followed the footnote reference. There is instruction in the world around us! But the entirety of the chapter is practically shouting at me this morning. So much truth! Don’t envy the evil. Their end is misery.
“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”
If kindness is the whole purpose and end of the law and the prophets, then I have greatly missed the mark, especially with my family, many a time. Kindness is different than calmness, and denotes calmness towards others. No matter what evil is extended to the individual, returning goodness every where we go.
Do not refrain from teaching the Gospel of Christ to your children. The end goal is conversion, not knowledge. Conversion to what? A gospel of kindness.
There is a brief addendum that I would add this study, found in Matthew 22:40. Here is another instance of where the phrase “the law and the prophets” is used to give emphasis to the importance of the principle being taught. In that context, it was teaching of the two greatest commandments: love God and my fellow man. Kindness is the essence of the same.