“The Golden Rule” is a pretty simple concept. It says, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” There are several variations of this phrase including, “One should treat others as one would like others treat oneself.” There is actually something called, “The Silver Rule.” This rule says, “One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated.” Either way, it is nothing more than “the concept of reciprocity.” The concept of what? Reciprocity: the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. This concept has been around before “the rule” was ever named.
The concept is pretty simple. Think about how you like to feel when someone treats you with kindness, courtesy, respect, love, and honor; treat others so they feel the same. I know, I know….but others don’t treat me that way. It doesn’t matter! The “rule” says that your action takes precedence over others actions. It doesn’t say, “See how others treat you and then treat them accordingly.” If you follow that plan, you will probably spend more time treating others poorly. Look at it this way, it is really nothing more than the law of “sowing and reaping.” Now there is something you can hang your hat on….a LAW!
Galatians 6:7-8 says:
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
There it is! Sowing how you want to be treated and waiting for the harvest. Does every seed planted in a garden produce fruit? Not every one and not every time. Do you just stop planting? Of course not! The very next verse addresses that issue.
Galatians 6:9 says:
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Don’t faint! Don’t give up! Don’t quit! Hang in there…you will eventually receive what you are planting. Does it happen over night? People often treat others based on an internal battle they have with themselves, past relationships, bitterness, unforgiveness, and sometimes just pure meanness. Does that determine how we treat them? Once again, a resounding, “Of course not!”
Let’s take it one verse further. Galatians 6:10 says:
10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Test the rule and see if it doesn’t pay off in the end. If you treat others using “The Golden Rule,” are patient and don’t give up, something will change. If not with others, at least change will occur within. Others are continually watching how you treat others and see your potentially treating them the same if given the chance.
One last thought…
I once had a boss that would take potential employees out to lunch at a very nice restaurant as part of the interview process. His intentions weren’t to see how well you could communicate your ideas, goals, or desire to become a part of the company. He wanted to simply see how you treated the “servants.” He would observe how you ordered, requested the refilling of a drink, interacted with the wait staff, and would even consult you concerning the tip at the end of the meal. He frequented this restaurant regularly and the workers there knew to provide a mediocre experience at best. They would allow the drinks to get low, not respond quickly to requests, and even slightly mess up the order. They knew him, the interviewer, well and knew this was part of the “process.” Don’t worry! He took ridiculously good care of these participants at the restaurant. For the interviewees, most failed the test and would never be hired. For those that “passed” the test? They were usually someone who understand that everyone has an “off” day and is in need of a little grace. They also knew how to treat others because it is how they wanted to be treated.
So, before we take the next test with the next person we come in contact with, we should remember, we NEVER know exactly what is going on in the world of others. Treat them how you would like to be treated on your worst day. If you make this a common practice in your life, you will pass the test of “The Golden Rule.”