by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
(from the annual ‘mottos’ of the Wesley Guild)
The failure of man to live by, and to keep, the golden rule is due to the fact that he is self-centred. That, in turn, leads to self-satisfaction, self-protection, self-concern. Self is in the forefront the whole time, for man wants everything for himself. In the last analysis is not that the real cause of the trouble in your labour disputes? ... One side says, T am entitled to have more’. The other side says, ‘Well, if he has more, I shall have less’. And so they both object to each other and there is a quarrel, because each one is thinking only of himself. I am not entering into the particular merits of particular disputes ... but the bitterness always comes in because of sin and self. If we were only honest enough to analyse our attitude towards all these questions, whether political, social, economic, national or international, we should find that it all comes to that. You see it in the nations. Two nations want the same thing, so each one is watching the other. All nations try to see themselves simply as the guardians and the custodians of the general peace of the world. There is an element of selfishness in patriotism always. It is ‘my country’, ‘my right’; and the other nation says the same; and because we are all so self-centred there are wars. All disputes are quarrelling and unhappinesses, whether between individuals, or between divisions of society, or between nations or groups of nations, all in the end come down to just that. The solution for the problems of the world today is essentially theological. All the conferences and all the proposals about disarmament and everything else will come to nothing while there is sin in the human heart controlling individuals and groups and nations. The failure to implement the golden rule is due solely to the Fall and to sin.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, ii. p. 213