In 2009, Simon Sinek wrote a book entitled Start With Why that eventually became a bestseller and he gave a TED Talk that now has almost 40,000,000 views. Sinek proposed that we often approach life and business incorrectly. We start with the wrong question. We start with what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it, but we fail to ask the most important question: why are we doing what we’re doing? Sinek argues that this one question can help both individuals and organizations keep their values and create productive pathways that will lead to their flourishing. If we start with the wrong question, we never end up in the right place.
Jesus knew the power of a clarifying question. In Matthew 7:12 he said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Jesus calls on people to live their life asking one simple question: what would I want other people to do to me? How would I want to be treated? Jesus knows that wired into our souls is a desire for our own good. In his brilliance, he calls us to utilize that self-love as a way to discern how to accurately love others.
Jesus goes so far as to suggest that if we ask this question and act on the answer, we will in turn keep the entirety of the scriptures (the Law and Prophets). That’s quite the statement! Everything Jesus wants of us is contained in projecting the love we have for ourselves onto the other. What if we started asking that question more? If I were difficult at work: how would I want to be treated? If (when) I cut someone off in traffic: how would I want to be treated? If I had immigrated from another country: how would I want to be treated? If I were responsible for a miscommunication: how would I want to be treated? If I fail: how would I want to be treated?
It’s a powerful question. It’s a clarifying and helpful question because we typically know the answer to it – we know how we would want people to interact with us. Jesus simply says, you know what you would want others to do to you…now go and do that to others.
Today, read through 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 one time slowly. Then, read it again, but everywhere the passage says “love,” put your name in the place of love. Use this practice as a prayer asking to become this kind of person.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
By Ryan Paulson