Quick! Recite the Golden Rule.
Nearly everyone knows the words: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
But what you may not know is that the “Golden Rule” can’t be found in the Bible. “What?” you say? Take a look for yourself. You won’t be able to find the “Golden Rule” listed anywhere. What you will find is the teaching of Christ recorded in Matthew 7:12 that says,“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Here’s another approach. Buddhism teaches: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Similarly, Hinduism teaches: “This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.” It all sounds the same doesn’t it? But it’s not.
The command of Christ is to “do.” The other teachings say, “do not do.”
It’s subtle, but there is a very big difference between the two ways of living with our fellow man. While the Eastern religions say, “Refrain from doing”; Jesus says, “Do!” It isn’t enough to just hold our negative behavior in check. We are to be looking for ways to “do unto others what you would have them do to you…” OK. End of Bible lesson—but that is interesting isn’t it? And, as my former pastor in Hawaii used to say at the end of every sermon: “So what? How does that apply to me?”
Well, as I think about it, I cannot help but see my own failings to remain sensitive to the needs of others around me. I often allow business to overpower my ability to be open and responsive to others. All too easily I become so entrenched in my own agenda that I begin seeing the immediate needs of others as irritating interruptions, or worse, not worthy of my time. For this I have missed precious, God-given moments of opportunity to graciously demonstrate the love and compassion He has shown to me.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. This profoundly simple yet powerful instruction for living goes hand-in-hand with the teaching of Christ when He said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another: Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35. In the eyes of Jesus, doing is not an option but a command and the most significant sign of being a believer.
As we strive to live by the Golden Rule let’s remember to take action and do for others the kinds of things we would want them to do for us.