The Test of the Golden Rule

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Jesus (Luke 6:31)

Yesterday my daughter dropped her wallet in a Target parking lot at midday while trying to load her purchases and two little girls into her car. By the time she had returned home, realized it was missing, retraced her steps, talked to Target security, had them verify from their cameras she placed it in her coat pocket at check out, and finally called her credit card company, whoever found the wallet already had two charges on her card, including pumping $75 worth of gasoline into the behemoth they had to be driving.

People who have no sensitivity to the Golden Rule, i.e. can’t put themselves in the shoes of someone who loses a wallet and have the common courtesy to seek to find its rightful owner, really baffle me. Now I’ll admit my initial reaction to hearing about this person without a conscience really made me mad. Ironically it triggered something in me that caused me to violate a golden teaching of Jesus myself by cursing that person rather than blessing them. (Matthew 5:44) It is true that the anger of man seldom produces the righteousness of God and it always amazes me how quickly one can become a Pharisee. (James 1:20)

I am genuinely puzzled however as to what kind of person would have such a disregard for the Golden Rule. Most commonly defined as “doing to others as you would have them do to you” and epitomized by Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself” the so called Golden Rule is not just unique to Judeo-Christian teaching. It is a bedrock ethic of human relationship that is found in every other world religion including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Zoroastrianism.
. . . The test of the Golden Rule is in how a person chooses to apply it. The rule was given as a measure of one’s own life rather than to measure the life of another. Whenever we point the finger at Golden Rule breakers there are three fingers pointing back at us. And that means we must seek to treat them the way we would like to be treated if we were them.

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