“Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt.7:12).
Most everyone has their own version of the Golden Rule. God has put this foundational principle in our hearts. It says, if we want to be treated with respect and love, we need to treat others that way first.
This little principle seems so simple, but it is so easy to be violated almost every day. All of us long to be accepted, but we make a game out of tearing, ripping apart, crushing, ignoring, and ridiculing people around us. Sometimes we do it even to those who are closest to us. We would never think of abusing anyone. We are too sophisticated for that. Yet, we gossip, use sarcasm and silence to insert the knife when people don’t expect anything. If we are caught, we say, “I was just kidding.”
Living by the Golden Rule involves a conscious choice to be kind, offer respect and honor. It demands words of affirmation and patience with all. It says, “You matter to me!” If we make radical acceptance of others a central value in our lives, amazing things will happen.
First, if we practice this, some of the people who know us best will need to recover from shock. Eventually, they will realize they don’t have to protect themselves from us anymore. Then, slowly, they will begin to give back the acceptance they have received from us. It is that simple. It really is!
Perhaps there is no greater need for the Golden Rule than in the area of forgiveness. See, the Golden Rule gives what others need, not what they deserve. The Golden Rule would help mend wounds and help reconcile those who have fallen out with each other. If we give what we want, we will give what others need. We all want and need the same thing: forgiveness! "We have committed the Golden Rule to memory; let us now commit it to life" (Edwin Markham). This reflects what is true with most people; they know the rule, but don't live by it. If Jesus is truly our Lord, then His "Golden Rule" will govern our life!
Some truths in the word of God are so simple that we overlook their profound nature. Some are used just as children's memory verses. However, the Golden Rule is a yard stick by which we can measure every relationship in our lives. It is easy to understand and apply if we are willing. There is nothing needed more among men today.
This is as old as the law and the prophets . . . This is no new rule, but one inherent in God's will for man in all times. Further, this clearly emphasizes the eternal authority of God. Those who seek to limit the whole duty of man to humanitarian obligations miss the point. This principle is based on our love for God (Mat. 22:37).