My co-worker and fellow blogger shared this article with me in which the columnist challenged people, in the new year and the new decade, to look at a few things through fresh eyes. The writer listed 52 suggestions, one for every week of the year. This week’s topic is the Golden Rule.
In general, the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is a pretty sound rule to live by. As with most things there are probably some exceptions, but on the big stuff, at least, I think we can agree that treating others how you would like to be treated is a good thing.
As a parent, I teach the Golden Rule even thought I probably haven’t called it by that name. If Finn puts his feet in his little brother’s face, as he’s been known to do, one of the things I’ve been known to say (right after, “Git your feet out of your brother’s face”) is “how would you like it if he put his feet in your face?” To which Finn (usually) responds that he wouldn’t like it, so I follow then with an application of the Golden Rule: “If you wouldn’t want his feet in your face then don’t go putting your feet in his.”
That, to be sure, the simplest application of The Rule, but then Jesus was sometimes a simple guy. Sometimes he wasn’t; sometimes things he said were chocked so full of meaning that it was like arrows flying over the disciples’ heads. But a lot of what Jesus gave us was simple truth to help us get along with fellow man, to help us obey his greatest commandments to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and spirit and to love one another as we love ourselves. In fact, the Golden Rule is one of many relationship-type directives given in the sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and reflects that second command perfectly. If we love everyone as we love ourselves why we would not treat them the way we want to be treated?
I want people to respect my opinions therefore I will respect theirs. I want people to help me when I’m in a time of need therefore I will help them. I want my friends to listen to me when I’m going through a hard time therefore I will listen to them when they are going through a hard time. Before I start to sound too selfish, I don’t actually think those lines. These aren’t intentional or calculated like moves on a chess board — ok, if I help this person here then when I’m over here they can do this for me — because that’s selfish. I do all those things out of love for the individuals because I have operated by The Golden Rule for quite sometime now and it’s seemless and automatic and manifested in loving other people. I don’t think the intent of The Rule is to focus on “as you would have done unto you” as much as “do unto others,” to be more aware of how we treat others, to bring us closer and closer to being able to more completely and consistently love others as we love ourselves. But if you struggle with loving others or if you’re just getting started, it’s a good place to get you going in the right direction, so I think.