What’s the Golden Rule?
The Dictionary defines it as:
- a basic principle that should always be followed to ensure success in general or in a particular activity.
The Bible says it this way:
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.”Matthew 7:12
Jesus said, “This is the essence of what is taught in the law and the prophets.”
So, I’m asking a couple of questions today…
- How would my life be different if I committed to faithfully “do to others” what I would like them to do for me>
- How would our families and communities be different if everyone committed to living by The Golden Rule?
It sounds like it should be easy, doesn’t it? Just treat people the way you want them to treat you. No problem, right?!
The Message says 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.”Matthew 7:12
I giggled a little when I read…
“A simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior.”
Because it’s not simple, is it?
- It’s not simple when we’re angry, upset, or frustrated.
- It’s hard when we’re hurt because we’ve been insulted or we’ve been the subject of gossip.
- It’s definitely not effortless when rude and insensitive people confront us.
- It’s difficult when it feels like everyone else is self-centered and selfish.
- It’s not easy to do when we’re overworked and exhausted.
Let’s face it … it may be a simple thing to want to do but it’s definitely not a simple thing TO DO!
It’s not easy for me to do … how about for you?
Together, we could probably come up with dozens of ways we fail to “do unto others” well.
But we have an excuse, right?
Honestly, it would be a lot easier to treat them well if they weren’t so rude, insensitive, self-centered, and annoying.
But maybe it’s time to stop making excuses and come up with some intentional practical #WWGGG – What Would Give God Glory ideas to do a better job of living the Golden Rule one “do to others what you would have them do to you” interaction at a time.
Here’s a list of some of those ideas…
How to “Do to Others” in Ways that will Give God Glory
1. Be Aware
See people! It’s so easy for me to get caught up in my own busyness that I fail to notice what’s going on in the lives of the people around me. Everyone is struggling with something … a broken relationship, a shortage, an illness. We all have pain and problems.
So, I’m challenging myself to slow down and see … to really see the people around me. Because I can’t “do to others” the good I would want them to do for me if I’m not aware of their needs.
“Once we recognize the fact that every individual is a treasury of hidden and unsuspected qualities, our lives become richer, our judgment better, and our world is more right. It is not love that is blind, it is only the unnoticed eye that cannot see the real qualities of people.”Charles Percy
2. Be Authentic
We can’t expect people to help if they don’t know what we need and it’s hard for us to know their needs if we don’t ask. I think it’s hard for all of us to admit our flaws, failures, and weaknesses.
So, I’m challenging myself to be real and honest about my flaws and failures because I want to do a better job of understanding and connecting with the less than perfect people around me.
“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 simply give them the gift of time spent together. With so many of us living behind screens and monitors … the gift of face to face presence is one of the best ways we can show we care.
I’m challenging myself to regularly set aside time and “in real life” attention to the people around me.
“Just being there for someone can sometimes bring hope when all seems hopeless.” ~Dave G. Llewelyn
4. Be Appreciative
Say “please” and thank you.” Be grateful. It takes so little effort to let someone know you are thankful for them and for the kindness they show. The best part is … it’s been proven that being grateful is good for you!
And be honest, don’t you want people to tell you they appreciate you? I know, I do!
Clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.Colossians 3:14–15
5. Be Kind
It’s easy to be kind to people who are kind … it’s harder to be kind when they are being unkind. But don’t we all have moments when we are not as kind as we’d like to be?
I’m challenging myself to respond to rudeness with kindness even when it’s hard. And … it’s always hard to respond with love to the person who is unloving.
Isn’t it great that God promises to give us His strength and help do His will even when it’s hard?
That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:10
6. Be a Listener
The best way to learn about someone is to listen to them even when we don’t agree and to hear their stories even when they’re hard. Social media makes it easy for us to block people with differing opinions. But maybe we could make a real difference if we listened to them before we judged and silenced them.
I’m challenging myself to listen with kindness and compassion because, in all honesty, that’s what I would want someone to do for me.
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2
7. Be Patient
I get it. We’re all in a hurry. There’s so much to do and so little time. I wonder if we’d be less annoyed with each other if we weren’t all trying to do too much in too little time.
I making it a goal to pause, breathe, say “no” when I should, and offer patience when I have to wait. Because … I really like it when people are patient with me.
“Some of your greatest blessings come with patience.” ~Warren Wiersbe
8. Be Encouraging
I love a good pat on the back or a heartfelt compliment? I’m guessing you do too! So, I want to find something good in everyone and tell them.
I have a rule for myself … if I think something complimentary or encouraging, I want to say it out loud.
Maybe we’d all be happier if we kept more of our negative thoughts to ourselves and sprinkled more kindness, support, and enthusiasm.
“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” ~Author Unknown
9. Be Compassionate
I think the word compassion could be used to define the Golden Rule. Compassion is caring, forgiving, sympathetic, and tender. It is sharing someone’s pain and helping them carry their burden. I want that!
“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
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.Colossians 3:!2
10. Be Loving
You and I have a God-given need to be loved.
God created us to love Him and each other.
And the best way for us to love each other is to…
“Do to others what you would have them do to you.”
But it’s hard, isn’t it?!
It’s hard when the people around us are failing to treat us the way we want them to. It’s hard when they’re annoying and we are irritable.
And those are the people we say we love! What about all of the “others.”
Sometimes it feels impossible to treat others the way we WANT them to treat us.
Our world is full of division and anger, justification and vindication, and a host of reasons why we need to apply The Golden Rule again.
But I’m not pointing fingers and moving on, it’s important for me to do a little self-assessment.
I’m asking myself…
What would it mean to my closest relationships if I made every effort to treat the people I say I love and care for the way I want them to love and care for me?
Or to make it really personal…
What if I spoke to __________ the way I want him/her to speak to me?
What if I did for __________ the things I would like them to do for me?
Would a change in my words and actions make a difference in my relationship with my spouse, my children, my siblings, parents, friends, neighbors, and coworkers? (What if I added the people who hurt or betrayed me? Or the ones who consistently get on my last nerve?)
Would it change the way I treat salespeople, servers, teachers, pastors, visitors to my church, or the person driving the car in front of me?
Would it change the way I talk about politicians and the people who support those political leaders with whom I don’t agree?
Would it affect the way I react to someone who is homeless, lost, hurting, broken, or dirty?
What if I decided to stop waiting for the other person to change?
(I do need to pause here and add that there are times for our health and well-being we have to set boundaries with someone. But even when we have to step back … we can still make a commitment to do nothing that will hurt that individual or add to the problem. And we can pray for God’s help and wisdom.)
What if you and I made a covenant to ask ourselves #WWGGG – What would give God glory? What if we committed to initiating the kindness, compassion, forgiveness, encouragement, patience, and love we want. To “do to others what we would have them do” to and for us. To treat them the way we want to be treated. To speak about them the way we would like them to speak about us.
Did you know, Jesus’ simple Golden Rule “guide for behavior” came with a promise…
“I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never regret it—I promise.Luke 6:35 (MSG)
So, what do you think? Are you willing to give it a try?
Are you willing to ask…
What can I do for __________ that I would like them to do for me? And how can I do it in a way that will give God glory?
You and I may not change the world … but if we believe the promise, we will change, bless, and strengthen our relationships.
I believe that is one way we can begin to change the world for God’s glory!
Thank you so much for joining me today.
And a thank you to BibleGateway.com for sources.
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