We’ve all heard of the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Seems so simple! In fact, I think there’s even a Veggie Tales about it, which, as all of us know, means it is a pretty big deal. But what does it mean and why do we do it?
My husband and I have used it as a go to when littles start to push and shove or when they don’t share. It’s one of the basic tools in the parent tool belt. But my littles are getting bigger and some of the lessons I have always taught are being questioned by minds whose world is getting more complicated every day. It is time to re-examine the go-tos and know the whys so that I have an answer when they ask.
The latest test happened just recently when my oldest boy was dealing with his older cousin. Older cousin is reaching into teenagedom and my oldest is just getting into the 3rd grade, so they kind of remind me of a puppy following a big dog. Sometimes the big dog is not so happy to have the puppy around and barks a little. Add to that the fact that teasing looks very much different for teenagers than it does for 3rd graders and my boy was not so sure how to react. I, being uber mom (yeah right), went very quickly to the Golden Rule. But then my boy brought up a point that had me stumped: What do we do when the other person still doesn’t treat us the way we want to be treated?
Huh. Never really considered that.
Then I thought about it. Not once does the Golden Rule guarantee that we will be treated as we want to be treated.
That reminded me of my biggest revelation as an adult and the lesson I did not want to teach: You cannot make anyone behave the way you want them to. You can cajole and beg and manipulate and influence, but you cannot make them do anything.
The only person you can make obey the Golden Rule is you.
You want to know the really tough part about that lesson? Even if you follow the Golden Rule, your world will not suddenly be perfect. Kinda feels like a disappointment. So why do it?
There is a faith lesson here. God, your Good Father, has told you what to do, how to be a good person.
Listen, do, wait, get hurt, beg for help, listen, do, wait, get hurt, beg for help, listen, do, wait, teach.
When you do what God asks you to do, even when there is no obvious reward, even when you get hurt doing what is right, what you do will not only make you the person you are supposed to be, it will teach those who are watching you.
Yes, as a Christian, people are watching. Even if you aren’t a parent, people will watch you to see what you do. So, when you treat others as you would have them treat you and they do not treat YOU as you would have them treat you, who watched that happen?
Who was scrolling through Facebook and saw that exchange between you and that person who was a distant friend of a friend who thought your opinion was bunk?
When you sold that thing at a garage sale and the person accidently handed you more cash than you had agreed on, who was watching you?
You’ve been listening to me go on and on about this rule. Let’s head to the source, Jesus, and see what He actually said:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Isn’t it so stabilizing to go to the Word of God!
We find here an answer to the dizzying search I began in this post. Why do we do good when there is no guarantee that we will be treated well? We do good because we have a Good Father in Heaven who gives us every good thing that we need in this life.
So be good to others when it makes no sense.
Show them your Good Father.
Teach them what your Father has taught you. They are watching.
Work to become the good person God made you to be.
Have a Golden Week,