The Golden Rule

July 6, 2016

The Golden Rule

What we often call “the golden rule” is found in Matthew 7:12. It says Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

Bible knowledge is highly beneficial to us because it gives us discernment and enables us to make wise decisions. Every day we make decisions. We need direction in making decisions. Sometimes we have to make decisions on the spur of the moment, but most often we have time to give some thought to it. Bible knowledge gives us direction in making those decisions. If rightly understood, it will never give us bad advice.

The golden rule demands that we take into consideration how our actions will affect others. It is possible to make decisions without giving any thought to that question. Our first thought is, what’s best for me? What is best for you may be to the detriment of someone else. Ask yourself therefore, would I be happy if someone hurt me the way I have been hurt?

We are not alone in this world. Unless you are a recluse, you live in relationship with others. The golden rule guides us in that relationship. We stand to gain by abiding by the golden rule, even though at times it seems as though we are losing. We would all live better if everyone lived by the golden rule. What others do affects us, and what we do affects others.

Living by the golden rule isn’t always to our advantage. Sometimes it demands that we do something that is more to the advantage of others than it is to us. As an illustration, let’s suppose that you are walking in a busy shopping mall. Ahead of you is a couple who are having a heated argument, perhaps about how they are going to spend their money. Suddenly, without realizing it, they drop a $100 bill on the floor. You pick it up and ask yourself, “What should I do with it?” You may know that the right thing to do would be to stop them and give it back to them. As you were walking, your mind was occupied with bills you need to pay and how to find enough money to pay them. After all, these people are strangers. You may never see them again. They didn’t realize they lost the money. They are well dressed and it it appears as though you need the money more than they do. What does the golden rule tell you that you should do? It tells you to put yourself in the shoes of that couple that lost the $100 bill.

Many of our problems stem from personal relationships. Married couples need to deal with the marriage relationship. It won’t be a healthy, happy relationship unless you give constant consideration to your marriage partner’s needs. If both live to make their partner happy they can’t help but have a happy relationship.

If we are kind to others, they are more apt to be kind to us. We can’t expect, much less obligate, others to live by the golden rule. However, we can encourage them to do so by commending them when we see them sacrifice for the good of some one else.

The Bible says that we are to love others. I Corinthians chapter 13 tells us how to put that into practice. Love is the motivation and the lubrication that makes it easy to have compassion on others when we see that they have a need, and we realize that we can do something to help them. The golden rule comes across as a command. It says “do.” If we have love, it will remove the compulsion from the golden rule and motivate us to do what we should because we want to.

I Corinthians 13:5 says, love “seeketh not its own.” Love enables us to do things for others without any expectation of getting something in return. We just do it because, in our heart, we know that that’s what we would want others to do for us. Many times we have occasion to help the handicapped. Perhaps to say “thanks” is all they can do in return for it. We do so with the anticipation that if some day we are handicapped, God will send some good Samaritan to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.

Matthew 7:12, where we find the golden rule, is one of the verses in the Bible that we should memorize. If we do, it will guide us many times in situations of life when we have opportunity to do something for the good of others. Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

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