What if we all lived by the Golden Rule?

Published 7:30 am Sunday, June 11, 2023

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“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We usually learn this sentence, known as the “Golden Rule,” when we are children. But, do we live by these words as adults?

The Golden Rule has been described as a fundamental moral principle, which simply means treat others as you would like to be treated. It’s also been called the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights.

Ever wonder why it’s called the Golden Rule? World Book Encyclopedia says, “The rule is called golden to indicate that it is the finest and highest rule of life.” Jesus taught the Golden Rule in the Sermon on the Mount, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12 NKJ).

It seems Jesus restated it when asked about the greatest commandment. Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-32 NKJ).

It is said that the entrepreneur James Cash Penney, starting in 1902 with a small general merchandise store in Kemmerer, Wyoming, built a multi-billion-dollar business empire on this one simple principle known as the golden rule.

In fact, his first stores were called The Golden Rule Stores. Mr. Penney’s faith in that principle of ethics – always treat a customer as he himself would want to be treated – made his stores grow and prosper. His employees benefited from Mr. Penney’s practicing the Golden Rule because he treated them as he would want to be treated were the situations reversed.

A minister once said, “The Golden Rule is the Lord Jesus’ recipe for personal relationships.” We should consider what effect our actions will have on the lives of others. Think about what it would be like to walk in their shoes.

“He who loves his fellowman is loving God the best he can,” writes author Alice Cary. I’ve heard it said through the years that others will not care how much we know –until they know how much we care.

In his remarks to a joint meeting of Congress in 2015, Pope Francis said, “This (Golden) Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated….The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”

Civitan International, an organization of volunteer service clubs around the world, is dedicated to helping people in their own communities. Civitan members pledge “to practice the Golden Rule and to build upon it a better and nobler citizenship.”

What a difference each of us could make in our homes, churches, schools, and city – if we all lived our lives by the Golden Rule!

— Jan White has compiled a collection of her columns in her book, “Everyday Faith for Daily Life.”