Everyone knows the “golden rule,” whether Christian or not. It has become a standard of common decency:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
But do we really do this? Even when we think we do? Not usually.
“American culture has twisted the golden rule into the silver rule: Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you. And that one extra word – not – makes all the difference.” (Wytsma in Pursuing Justice)
This rings so true. We’ve taken what should be the gold standard and have covered it up with silver…some good intentions, but not actually accurate
We tell kids not to hit because they wouldn’t want someone to hit them. Don’t take toys from another kid because you wouldn’t want him to take it from you. As adults, we do the same thing. We try to avoid harming others because we don’t want them to harm us. This isn’t the golden rule though; it isn’t what we are called as Christians to follow. Really, we should be considering what we WOULD have them do to us, not what we would like them not to do to us.
I like when people notice things I do well and acknowledge it..so I should do that for others.
I like receiving random gifts, so I should give them.
When faced with real life, unforeseen hardships, I want people to anonymously step in. So, so should I.
I like when people see me struggling and hold the door. So, I need to make sure I am taking the time to do so.
I like when people take the time to stop and smile at me. So, I need to do so.
I like when people try to make me feel at ease. So, I need to try more to do this with others.
I like when people try to understand what I am saying. So, I need to do so.
I like when people work to make things better, rather than stay stuck in one position. So, I should work to do this.
This type of living requires more reflection and more intentionality. It requires us to think and ACT for others – rather than accepting the passive role of avoiding acting in harm. When we focus on the “not,” we giving our life to inaction.
I want a life focused on action. That is what God calls us to – actively seeking Him, worshipping HIm, and actively serving others. I don’t want to not do to others, for others.
I want to scratch off the silver to uncover all the gold underneath, waiting to be poured out. I want to do for others and to others in every possible way.