“Treat others as you would like to be treated”, “do unto others as you would have them do to you”, “love thy neighbor as thyself”.
Almost all of us recognize these sayings and would refer to them as the “Golden Rule.” I’m sure most of us remember being taught the Golden Rule from early childhood, and still try to follow it as adults. Though the concept is thousands of years old, it’s still very relevant today. In fact, it could be argued that it’s the most important rule anyone can live by.
It applies to everyone no matter where you come from or what you believe – it is basic decency in everyday life. But it is especially important to Christians because we are called to do our best to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and act as He would act, do as He would do. Because Jesus was the ultimate example of what it means to follow the Golden Rule, we should take it particularly seriously.
What Does the Bible Say About It?
We can look to the Bible and find countless instances of Jesus exemplifying the Golden Rule. Jesus was a true servant, and he was always spending time with people who were considered unfavorable or a disgrace to society at that time. Even though he was the Son of God, he gave everything he had to those who no one else wanted to associate with.
In the book of John we can read of how he washed his own disciples’ feet. In Matthew, he heals a sick woman plagued with bleeding, and in Mark he raises a girl from the dead. There are so many more stories of him healing the sick, giving to the poor and spending time with people who had been shunned from their communities.
He was held in such high esteem by many, but he had the humility to connect with each and every person that wished to be near him. We can always refer to Biblical accounts of Jesus’ actions to get a glimpse of how we should treat people that we encounter each day.
We never know who could use our help or benefit from our abilities, and we should be ready to serve others if the need arises. Of course, we all hope others realize the same things about themselves and will have the humility to treat us with kindness as well. If everyone thought this way, exercising the Golden Rule would be effortless.
The rule itself is never actually referred to as the “Golden Rule” in the Bible, but it is still talked about multiple times. Actually a lot of Christians might refer to it as the greatest commandment. In Matthew, Jesus is asked: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
To me, those two commandments have made Christianity and just being a good person in general so much simpler. If we could all love God the way we’re supposed to and treat others with the kindness we expect in return, we would be wonderful followers of Christ.
However, it’s not that simple is it? We are human, and we make mistakes every day. We lose our tempers. We speak too quickly and listen too late. We ignore the opportunities we have to do good because it may not be convenient. We just don’t exercise the Golden Rule as often as we can.
Sometimes it’s easier to turn a blind eye toward someone who may need us because to approach that person would mean stepping outside of our comfort zones. It’s easier to give in to anger and explode in someone’s face than to take a moment to breathe and gather our thoughts. It’s easier to keep things to ourselves rather than communicate our concerns and have a difficult conversation.
The book of Matthew says: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. ”
So, if we choose to take that narrow path of making an extra effort to treat others as Christ would treat them, it will certainly be harder. Yet, we will be living a true and honest life on Earth while treading the narrow path towards spending eternity with God.
The Ultimate Example
As Christians, we learn how God sent his only son to save us from ourselves and our sins. That’s the biggest sacrifice imaginable – giving up the person you love the most for the greater good of the world. Just think about how incredible that is.
In giving up His only son in order to save all of creation, God presented mankind with the ultimate example of the Golden Rule. God showed us just how much He loves us and aches for us to know Him by letting His son suffer and endure horrific treatment so that the whole world could have a chance to learn of His immeasurable love.
Knowing that God loves us that much should encourage us to sacrifice ourselves and all our earthly desires in order to treat others the way they should be treated. We should seek God in all we do and be eager to do the best we can to be more like Christ each and every day. If we put ourselves aside in order to help others, God will prove to us that we’re doing the right thing. We will be blessed in unexpected ways and find true happiness in life.
~ Written by Marissa Clark