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The Golden Rule, for Adults


Even atheists know the Golden Rule. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31.

Good parents have taught their children to obey the Golden Rule, from the time they could talk. And whenever someone mentions the Golden Rule, we nod in affirmation and say, “That’s the only way to live!”

And when we were children the application of the Golden Rule was pretty straightforward.

  1. Share your toys

  2. Let the other person have their turn on the swing

  3. Don’t hit your sister

  4. That hurt her feelings. Is that the way you’d like to be treated?

“Kids, remember the Golden Rule. Do onto others as you would have them do to you.”

But the application of the Golden Rule gets more complicated as we get older. Why? Because it sometimes involves our attitude toward people different than us or people who’ve hurt us deeply and it often costs us dearly. Do unto gays as you would have them do to you. The last few years, I’ve spent a lot of time meeting with gays and lesbians–Christians and non-Christians alike. The things they told me about how Christians have treated them would result in a felony conviction of the Golden Rule.

So, in your discussions about or with LGBTQ people, with your friends, family or at work, have you treated them as you’d like to be treated?

Do unto aliens and immigrants, as you would have them do to you. When I watch the news and see hundreds of thousands of Syrians risking their lives crossing seas in flimsy boats to flee the war, it breaks my heart. Why wouldn’t we as Christians, not want to take them in? Yes, there’s a risk that among the these refugees, lurks terrorists who want to kill Americans and probably will. But Christians are to treat others as they would like to be treated. Would you like to spend a few years living in a horrible tent city in Turkey? If Jesus were the President of the United States, what do you think his policy would be on aliens, even if it cost a few hundred American lives because some terrible, hate filled people got through the screening process?

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 (NLT)

Do unto the poor as you would have them do to you. My guess is that you know a family right now, who is really hurting financially. They’re good people who may have made some foolish choices, or perhaps sickness or unemployment has crippled their finances. Let’s say that God somehow, overnight switched your circumstances. Now, you are in their place and they have your life and assets. What would you want them to do for you?

The Golden Rule for adults involves far more risk and sacrifice than it did when you were a child. Remember when your children were young and you reminded them of the Golden Rule? What’s the first word that came out of their mouths?

“But!” And then followed all the reasons they thought they were exempt from obeying the rule.

Even as you were reading this blog, did you find yourself saying “but?” Saying “but” to God is a dangerous thing for adults – mature believers, who claim to believe in the Golden Rule.

“If you love me, obey my commandments.” John 14:15

How following Jesus works in real life.

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