“For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 5:14.

How many times growing up did you hear adults tell you, “do as I say and not as I do?”  This never made sense to me and it makes less sense when you read the Bible. In fact, the Bible teaches the exact opposite. 

Almost everyone knows the “golden rule.” “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.  (Matthew 7:12)  Look at the same verse from The Message (MSG): “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.”

The golden rule is a call to immediate and positive action for the purpose of helping others. We “grab the initiative” to “do.” If we want to see more of the golden rule expressed in our daily lives and in the world, then we need to think about how you want to be treated, then treat other people that way in order for your reward to be similar treatment. The golden rule says to treat others the way you want to be treated regardless of how they treat you. This might seem like a tall order to our kids and it is. It is a tall order for all of us.

But remember that Jesus told us to love — to treat others with kindness, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, gentleness, and respect. In order to truly live a home run life and raise home run kids we need to love God and love others. That’s what God expects us to do. The golden rule helps us live for others and for God. It un-selfs us, strengthens our values, and empowers us to live the life God wants us to live.

It is not that difficult a concept. Since we want to be loved, we should love others. We want to feel accepted, we accept others for who they are without any conditions or judgments. We want to be encouraged, supported, and complimented, we go out of our way to make others feel that they are supported, that they feel encouraged, and compliment them when we can. We want to feel respected, appreciated and valued. Since that is what we want, shouldn’t we genuinely respect other’s points of views, ideas, and individualities; we listen to them without judgment.

And finally, we want to be forgiven for the mistakes we make. Since we want to be forgiven, we forgive others for their mistakes — big or little. That doesn’t mean we condone what they’ve done; but we refuse to feel resentful. Instead, we move forward as we would want the other person to move forward.

Living a life based on the golden rule is not always easy, but it’s worth it. Living by the golden rule starts with the question, “God, how would You have me love today … in this situation … with this individual?” Living by the golden rule is not about what we get. It’s about what we give. And it blesses both the receiver and the giver.

Discussion Questions

  1. How would you explain the golden rule to people?
  2. Are the golden rule and the great commandment similar? How can we be commanded to love? How is love more than a feeling? 
  3. How do we know if we are fulfilling the golden rule?