How would your life be different if you committed to living the Golden Rule life?
How would all our lives be different if everyone committed to living by The Golden Rule?
You memorized like this…
“Do to others what you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12 (NIV)
Easy words to memorize but hard words to live.
The Message puts it this way…
“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.”
“A simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior.”
But it’s not simple, is it?
It’s not simple when you’re angry, or frustrated.
It’s hard when you’re hurt because you’ve been insulted or the subject of gossip.
It’s definitely not simple when rude and insensitive people confront you.
It’s difficult when it feels like everyone else is self-centered and selfish.
It’s not simple when you’re overworked and exhausted.
Let’s face it . . . it’s just not simple.
The Golden Rule life is especially hard when…
- You walk past a homeless person looking for a handout.
- You’re asked to welcome the person who’s poorly dressed or smells bad to your church.
- You’re asked to forgive the unforgivable.
I’m guessing we could go on and on adding dozens of things to these lists.
Let’s stop and look at some practical ways do better at living the Golden Rule Life.
How to Love and Live the Golden Rule Life
1. Be Aware
It’s so easy to get caught up in our own busyness we hardly notice the battles going on in the lives of the people around us. I’m guilty. I’m challenging myself to put away my phone, look up, and se the life around me.
“There is nothing like looking if you want to find something.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien
2. Be Authentic
This one’s hard. It’s easier to put a revised and polished image out there then it is to admit our mistakes and ask for forgiveness. I’m challenging myself to admit that I’m a mess and do a better job of connecting other people who are messy, too.
“Live authentically. Why would you continue to compromise something that’s beautiful to create something that is fake?” ~Steve Maraboli
3. Be Present
Sometimes the best way to love someone is to just be there for them . . . to hold a hand or cry together. No words needed just a quiet caring connection. I’m challenging myself to do be better about spending time with those who are hurting.
“Just being there for someone can sometimes bring hope when all seems hopeless.” ~Dave G. Llewelyn
4. Be Appreciative
Say “please” and thank you.” This is a favorite of mine. It takes so little effort to let someone know you are thankful for them and for the kindness they show.
“Feeling gratitude, and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~William Arthur Ward
5. Be Kind
It’s easy to be kind to people who are kind . . . harder to those who are unkind. I’m challenging myself to respond to rude behavior with kindness even when it’s hard. And it’s always hard!
“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” ~Steve Maraboli
6. Be a Listener
The best way to learn about someone is to listen to them . . . especially those with whom we don’t agree. Social media makes it easy for us to block people with differing opinions. I’m challenging myself to be a better listener with an effort to understand and care.
“There’s a lot of difference between listening and hearing.” ~G.K. Chesterton
7. Be Patient
I get it. You’re in a hurry. Everyone is in a hurry. But don’t you want people to be patient with you. I want to stop, breathe, listen, and offer patience when I have to wait.
“Some of your greatest blessings come with patience.” ~Watten Wiersbe
8. Be Generous
This is another hard one, especially for those who are doing their best to simply survive. Yet, when I see stories about homeless people sharing the little bit they have or the widow who gave her last few pennies in Scripture I’m inspired to do a better job of seeing needs and doing all I can to meet them.
The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25
9. Be Humble
Yeah, that! Remember “humility isn’t thinking less of yourself it’s thinking of yourself less.” (Rick Warren) I’m challenging myself to love others so well I don’t have time to worry myself.
The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. Psalm 69:32
10. Be Encouraging
Find something good in everyone and tell them. I have a rule . . . if I think something nice about someone I need to let them know.
“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” ~Author Unknown
11. Be Compassionate
I think compassion sums up the Golden Rule. Compassion offers forgiveness, sympathy, and tenderness. It is the feeling that unites as people who not only need one another but who want to help.
“To keep the Golden Rule we must put ourselves in other people’s places, but to do that consists in and depends upon picturing ourselves in their places.” ~Harry Emerson Fosdick
12. Be Loving
Loved. Don’t you want to be loved?! There is a quote that says, “If you want to have a friend, be one.” God loves us and created us to love Him and each other. That’s “golden” loving.
“Do to others what you would have them do to you.”
But it’s easier to “do unto others,” when they’re like us and love us. It’s easier when we love them. When “others” means everyone it’s hard. Honestly, it sometimes feels impossible.
Just look at the divisions in our world today. Wow, we need The Golden Rule again, don’t we?
So, I’m wondering if you might join me in a little personal assessment.
What would it mean to your relationships with (add any name) , if you committed to living The Golden Rule Life?
To your: spouse, your ex, your children, brothers, sisters, parents, coworkers, friends, or neighbors, etc.
To the: salesperson, server, teacher, pastor, church visitor, or political leader, etc.
To the: homeless, lost, hurting, broken, or dirty, etc.
What if you and I committed to stop waiting for the other person to go first?
What if we promised to start every day looking out instead of in?
What if we made a covenant to initiate kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and encouragement?
What do you think? Are you in?
You. Me. Our families.
Let’s start there.
Committed . . . promising to love others by living a Golden Rule life.
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