Each generation expands on the discoveries and ideas of its predecessors and looks for the unique impact it can leave on humanity. Some of the biggest ideas that changed the world began with the smallest observations and deepest questions. When people truly begin to examine the world they live in, they often find things they want to change, and revolutionary ideas are born. It’s common to credit ancient Greece with the invention of democracy: the principle that everyone counts, enshrined in the practice of giving one person one vote. It’s true that the idea was first clearly articulated by Plato. But ancient Athens was nothing like a democracy in our sense of the word: only free men could vote, and Slaves and women didn’t count at all. Democracy in the modern sense took a long time to emerge.
Today’s media debate is full of talk of human rights – the right to life, the right to freedom of speech and so on. Throughout history, man’s greatest challenge has been to learn how to live in peace with himself and his neighbors. Ever since the fall of man, we humans divided as we are by religion, ethnicity, geography, national identity, and differing cultural systems and ethnicity, have trouble grasping the overall picture that we are one family. Religious and social differences and territorial loyalties often prevent us from seeing how much we truly have in common with one another. At heart, we all share the same fears, hopes, dreams, and longings. We all share a common desire to be able to control the circumstances of our lives. Consciously or not, we all are searching for a perfect world in which all are equal, enjoying the same rights, benefits, liberty, security, health, and abundance—lives with meaning and purpose and fulfilled potential. But we will never see it until we step back to take seriously the golden rule in the Bible.
Two simple rules can revolutionize a person’s life and society. First treating God as we want God to treat us and second treating others as we want others to treat us. The term “golden rule” is never mentioned anywhere in scripture, but it is always tied to Matthew 7:12, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” This is probably the most well known statement Jesus ever said. It is the summit of ethics, behavior, righteousness, and godliness. It is a very practical statement of God’s love; that is, God has done to us just as He wants us to do to Him. God has treated us as He wants us to treat Him (and everyone else). The golden rule reveals the heart of God. It shows us exactly how God’s heart longs for us to live and act. It is a simple statement revealing what love really is and what life in a perfect world is like.
If people followed the golden rule it would transform the world. The golden rule is a one-sentence statement that embraces all human behavior. It demands true justice: insist that men be treated justly in all situations. It Include real love: insist that men actively do good and even go beyond and do more than good. It teaches the whole law: insist that men do all that the law teaches. It is not enough to know or to believe the golden rule. We must live it. If anyone else on this planet is hungry, then I would experience that hunger as my own, which would force me to take action to change that as quickly as I can – to get that person fed. If there is one thing that stimulates action towards change, it is suffering.
Accepting that your actions impact everything else on this planet is important because it empowers you. What you think, feel and then decide to do thus become so much more important. You’re not just changing your immediate experience; you’re creating ripple effects across the globe. With this power comes great responsibility, so ensuring you make decisions in line with the kind of person you want to be and the kind of impact you want to have on other humans and the planet, is critical. The golden rule makes all men equal. How we wish to be treated is how we should treat others. And how others wish to be treated is how they should treat us. All people–the wealthy, famous, and powerful as well as the poor, unknown, and unimportant–all are to treat each other just as they would wish to be treated. If men would practice the golden rule, the ills of society would be solved: hunger, poverty, disease, and sin. The golden rule would bring about a world of peace overnight if men would just commit themselves to it.
What do you really want others to do for you? Love, acceptance and Help in needs. If we want these things for ourselves, we must extend them to others too. Regardless whether they are belonging to your community or not or you like them or not. The golden rule says very much the same thing as the second great law: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew.22:39) It is the wisest thing that a man can do. This will eliminate prejudice, racism, injustice, discrimination and judging others. Many will draw close to a person who treats them well all the time, and they will respond with like treatment, at least a good deal of the time. One way to practice the golden rule is to ask the simple question: “How would I want to be treated?” Then treat the other person that way. Note that Christ says both the golden rule and the two great commandments contain all the law (Matthew 7:12; Matthew22:40). The laws of God and the laws of men would both be obeyed if we practiced the golden rule and the two great commandments. This teaching must not be taken lightly. It is the foundation of love, grace, peace and salvation.