I remember being taught The Golden Rule when I was a child. You know… “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. The rule that parents brought out any time you did something mean or rotten to someone else? The rule that teachers hung on the bulletin boards that decorated the classroom? The one rule that we were all supposed to live by? Where is The Golden Rule in today’s society?
I know that it seems as if there is a new Golden Rule that has superimposed the old one… the idea that you must “do unto others before they can do it unto you”… but that’s just something I find totally abhorrent. If we could all live as simply as following the Golden Rule, don’t you think the world would be a nicer place?
Think about it… you see a woman struggling to put her groceries in the car while keeping her infant from trying to escape the cart seat. Would it be so difficult to take a moment and offer to help put the items in her car so she can concentrate on her child? What about the man in the line at Starbucks who seems so impatient and frustrated with the two-person wait for his coffee order. Would it really ruin your day to ask if he wants to go ahead of you? Is it too hard to wait a moment and hold the door open for another person… pick up a dropped item… ask if they need help… smile at another human being?
I know there will always be those who refuse offers of help… who have been kicked around by the other Golden Rule. My theory, though not scientific in the least, is that those are the people who will eventually come around to looking for the good in people instead of expecting the bad. If you kick a dog enough times, he’s going to flinch if you start to make the motion toward him. People aren’t so different… if they’re treated badly by society, they look for the bad before being able to see the good. Maybe if we all start trying to show one another the good instead of the bad, we can create a world where The Golden Rule is the norm again and not the exception.
“What Would Jesus Do” was really popular a few years ago and was viewed (for lack of a better term) as the “new hotness”. Bumper stickers, wrist bands, signs, slogans, all asking us to stop and think about what Jesus might do in any given situation… but isn’t that really just the Golden Rule? Jesus had two main commandments: Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself. We’re commanded to love God, but we’re also commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. That second part? Isn’t that another way of following The Golden Rule? As Christians, we can talk WWJD all we want, but doesn’t it all come down to “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you”?
I ask, dear reader, that you think about this over the coming weeks. Before you just let that door slam in someone’s face… before you laugh at the unfortunate person who just dropped their purchases on the floor… before you ignore that plea of help in someone’s eyes as they’re trying their best to make it through the day. Not just “What Would Jesus Do”, but what would you want someone to do for you?
You might find that it feels pretty amazing to treat others with the respect and appreciation that you’d want in the same situation. To compliment someone can brighten their day in ways you’ll never know. To simply smile at a person can lift their spirits and make their day.
In my humble opinion, The Golden Rule shouldn’t be questioned. It should be the way we all conduct the business of our lives. Wouldn’t that just make your day?