THE GOLDEN RULE : “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Some of you may or may not know that this is actually a verse from Luke 6:31. This chapter in Luke is one of my favorites. It is full of wisdom regarding how to treat one another.
When you’re in a happy mood, having a great day, or just received good news, it’s very easy to treat people with kindness and love. But what about when you have a bad day, or your kid woke you up an hour before your alarm (you feel me?!?), or you just received horrible or devastating news? How do you treat people then? How do you treat people when you’re having a terrible, awful, no good, very bad day?
I’ll be honest and say that I have had many days like this, and I most definitely lashed out at some folks (of which I was extremely regretful and embarrassed- sorry husband). Treating others as we want to be treated isn’t conditional. The Golden Rule doesn’t come with a disclaimer stating: “**However, if you’re having a bad day, treating others like poo is cool.” As much as we’d love to find some loophole in this “Golden Rule”, I think deep down we know that’s not how it works. We never know what others are going through, or what their life is like. Therefore, it’s best to just always treat others with kindness. Like . . . All. The. Time.
I recently heard a story about James Garfield (20th president of the United States) that reminded me of how important it is to treat ALL people with respect, kindness, and love. One day President Garfield stopped to buy a paper from a newsboy, and as he did, he bowed very politely. The person with him immediately questioned him, asking, “Why on earth did you, the President of the United States, bow to that newsboy?” President Garfield simply answered, “for I know not what possibilities may be buttoned up under that jacket t.”
Isn’t that the picture of Jesus? He loved ALL people at ALL times. He ALWAYS treated others this way. President Garfield was so right! We never know who is in our midst, standing in front of us. Everywhere we go, we are met with the opportunity to show people the love of Jesus. We are, after all, His hands and feet. We ARE the physical! God is counting on US to reveal HIM to people on earth.
People say they can’t see God? Then we are slacking! God is everywhere. He is in our midst. He is in US. We MUST show His love. Everywhere. Not just in our bubble, not just where it’s comfortable, not only when it’s convenient.
Jesus didn’t sit quietly in his little bubble of a town and wait on things to just come his way. No, he was walking . . . A LOT (like, get this man a FitBit already), always seeking people. He didn’t stay far, far away from the places he disagreed with. Jesus didn’t treat the people that were against him with hatred and disdain, or even protest. Jesus loved. He loved ALL. He showed up in the most unlikely circumstances, and he fought resistance with love.
Jesus treated others as he would have them do unto him. He definitely didn’t treat people as they ARE doing to him (yet so many of us do that. An eye for an eye? Right?) He knew that the people and places farthest from him were the ones that needed his love the most. He was courageous. He was kind. He met people where they were. Jesus was love. Pure, plain, and simple. No strings attached.
Listen – we don’t have to agree with this world. We are not responsible for the actions of others. But we ARE responsible for OUR OWN actions. We ARE called to love. We ARE called to be a light when there is nothing but darkness. Walking out the Golden Rule is a challenge we should have mastered!
How do you feel when you’re having an awful day and someone notices you, comes to you and simply LOVES you- despite what you’ve done? Like when I blow up at my kids, and then one of them comes to me and wraps their sweet little arms around my neck . . . man, that love . . . it’s powerful, right? We need to extend that love to people . . . The ones we love for sure, but also the ones we don’t. Yeeeeaaa – that one’s a little harder to do; not gonna lie.
Remember: you aren’t the boss, you aren’t the judge, and you aren’t the keeper of rules. FORGIVE people. DON’T JUDGE people. LOVE people.
Golden. . . Precious. Coveted. Priceless. Valuable. When obeyed, the Golden Rule embodies all of those things.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Pretty simple . . . right?