The famous quote “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” is known as the “Golden Rule.” In a nutshell, the Golden Rule comes down to treating people with the same love, respect, and integrity that you would like to be treated with.
In the book of Matthew, Jesus said:
Matthew 7:12 Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
In fact, variations of the Golden Rule can be found in religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, and others. If everyone in the world applied this one principle, imagine how different the world would be. The entire world could be without violence, crime, racism, poverty, or any human abuse—there could be perfect harmony!
It’s not easy to live the Golden Rule, but in Matthew 22 Jesus lays the foundation for helping us to live by it.
Matthew 22:37-38 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.
As we obey Jesus’ first commandment, grow closer to Jesus and develop a closer friendship with Him, we will desire to take on more of His loving nature, and by doing so, we will be able to more closely follow His next commandment.
Matthew 22:39 And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
The Golden Rule shows us how to put into practice Jesus’ second greatest commandment. It’s human nature to be selfish and self-centered, mainly looking out for ourselves. But if we take a close look at the nature of Jesus, it’s obvious to see by the way He lived that He was focused on the needs of others.
If we’re open to it, God can fill our hearts with His love, which will make it a whole lot easier to follow Jesus’ second commandment!
In the book of Philippians, Paul teaches us:
Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
How can we practically live like this in a world where it seems that in order to achieve anything you must look out for yourself above all else?
In their book, The Power of Nice, Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval tell us about an example that shows how sharing sincere kindness and looking out for the needs of others can create a nicer universe. Through applying the Golden Rule to our lives, we can achieve greater things than if we were just looking out for own needs and turning a blind eye to the needs of others.
Every time you smile at [someone], laugh at [someone’s] joke, thank [someone], or treat a stranger with graciousness and respect, you throw off positive energy. That energy makes an impression on the other person that, in turn, is passed along to and imprinted on the myriad others he or she meets. Such imprints have a multiplier effect. And ultimately, those favorable impressions find their way back to you.
You may not notice any impact on your life for years, apart from the warm glow it gives you inside. Nonetheless, we have found that the power of nice has a domino effect. You may not ever be able to trace your good fortune back to a specific encounter, but it is a mathematical certainty that the power of nice lays the groundwork for many opportunities down the road. These positive impressions are like seeds. You plant them and forget about them, but underneath the surface, they’re growing and expanding, often exponentially.
Diane Karnett certainly never thought the young woman she met on a train home to New York City would transform her life. The woman was visiting her grandmother, who happened to live in Diane’s neighborhood, so they split a cab ride. When they arrived at the grandmother’s apartment. the woman asked Diane if she’d help her carry her bags up to the fifth-floor walk-up.
“I figured why not?” But by the time they reached the fourth floor, she could think of many reasons why not.
The woman’s eighty-five-year-old grandmother turned out to be an ex-Ziegfeld showgirl named Millie Darling, who befriended Diane and showed her New York as she had never known it. “Through the years. I was treated like royalty at her favorite jazz clubs and saloons,” says Diane.
That would have been more than enough reward for lugging a few bags up several flights of stairs. But it turns out Millie was the mother of Chan Parker, widow of the legendary jazz great Charlie Parker. When Diane was unemployed, Chan invited Diane to live with her in her farmhouse outside of Paris. Diane accepted and told her former employer about her move. They said that since she was moving to Paris anyway, why not set up shop and run a co-venture for them there? Diane remained in Paris for four glorious years, spending weekends at Chan Parker’s farmhouse, socializing with Chan’s fabulous and fascinating visitors—jazz legends, journalists, even Clint Eastwood. “I could have let that stranger on the train carry her own bags up. And missed it all,” says Diane.
When we meet strangers on the street, we usually assume they aren’t important to us. Unlike our friend Diane, we often avoid contact with the woman sitting next to us on the train or maybe even race ahead to beat her to a cab as we exit the station. The thinking is, “She’s just some woman who has nothing to do with my life. Getting the cab is more important than being nice to her.”
You have to treat everyone you meet as if they are the most important person in the world—because they are. If not to you, then to someone; and if not today, then perhaps tomorrow.
Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, The Power of Nice (Doubleday, 2006)
How true that is! Every person in the world is important to someone (or many someones)—including you—and each should be treated with love, respect, and kindness. Brian McFadden and LeAnn Rimes bring out this timeless principle in their song, “Everybody’s Someone.”
Rosalind Peters, the teenage producer of a Christian TV show in the UK, presents some excellent tips on how we can show God’s love in our day-to-day interactions with others, even with those we may not naturally like or get along with.
In a nutshell, the Golden Rule comes down to treating people with the same love, respect, and integrity that you would like them to treat you with.
What is Integrity
> Integrity is being faithful to keep your promises and fulfill your obligations and commitments.
> Integrity means that your word is your bond, and that others can count on you.
> Integrity does not make excuses as to why it couldn’t; instead, it finds a way that it can, come what may, hell or high water.
> Integrity is doing the right thing, no matter what it costs you.
> Integrity does not depend on the situation or the circumstances; it does what it should, what is right, no matter what the situation or the circumstances.
> Integrity is being honest, not lying or deceiving or knowingly misleading others.
> Integrity is sincere, truthful, trustworthy, and reliable.
A Person of Integrity …
… does not react based on how others treat him or her.
… treats others as he wants to be treated, no matter what their treatment of him is like.
… shows love and concern even in the face of dislike or scorn.
… is kind and courteous even when others are not.
… respects others and shows consideration even when they do not reciprocate [it].