How the Golden Rule Could Fix Everything

by Joe Plemon on October 7, 2011

The Golden Rule is so simple and so well known that we seldom take it seriously and certainly don’t give it enough credit. Here is a thought: I believe if all of us would actually treat each other as we want to be treated, this simple rule would solve all of the world’s problems. ALL? Problems like unemployment, poverty, crime, war, the national debt and divorce? Yep. All. Read on.

Unemployment

What if, instead of buying bigger houses and driving newer cars, all of the “haves" in this world sacrificially invested their time and wealth to train everyone who wants to work? I am not suggesting that business owners sacrifice the capital they put into growing their business, but sacrifice their standard of living. And I am not advocating artificially created government jobs, but real jobs which society needs.

Poverty

What if every family in this world agreed to lower their standard of living until no children in the world died of malnutrition? (According to Bread to the World, 16,000 children die of hunger related issues daily…one every five seconds). What if every neighbor voluntarily shared their excess with every neighboring family who had nothing?

Crime

What if all thieves decided that they would not only stop stealing, but would repay and ask forgiveness of previous victims? What if all child abusers could view children through a healthy mindset? What if all murderers could put themselves into the shoes of their potential victims? What if all scammers realized that they were destroying the lives of innocent people?

War

What if every nation started thinking of how they could serve and honor other nations?

The national debt

No war, no poverty and no unemployment would nullify the need for most government programs, but what if everyone voluntarily agreed to sacrifice their standard of living to the point that zero government debt is needed?

Divorce

What if every married person started living out his/her marriage vows? What if every husband started placing his wife’s needs ahead of his own? What if every wife began thinking of her husband as more important than herself?

“Joe…that sounds good, but it will never work. People aren’t going to magically start treating others like they want to be treated."

You know what? You are right. That is my opening paragraph said “if". Obviously it is a huge and unlikely “IF“. But before we dismiss the entire discussion, stick with me a bit more. What if you decided to live out the Golden Rule in your life? Be careful, because doing so is choosing a radically different lifestyle than most of us live.

  • When eating out, would you treat your server any differently?
  • Would you, like John Wesley of old, establish a maximum standard of living and give away all income above that threshold?
  • Would you volunteer for the work that no one else wants to do?
  • Would you check on that neighbor who seems to never have company?
  • Would you value your spouse ahead of yourself?

Jesus, who taught that there would always be wars and that the poor would always be with us, was keenly aware that the entire world would never live out this principle. However, because he wasn’t willing to let his followers strive for anything less than excellence, Jesus admonished these followers to live out the Golden Rule. Following Jesus today is no different; our charge is not to question whether others are living out this simple rule, but to ask the person in the mirror if he is willing to do so.

If you accept that challenge, I am guessing that planet Earth won’t change significantly. However, YOUR world will. Here is hoping you will choose to follow this one simple rule.

 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

krantcents October 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I would settle for just a decent set of values! Too often, people are causght up in their your ow little world and forget abou the rest od society.

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20's Finances October 9, 2011 at 7:48 am

I agree that the world would change if this idea were taken seriously. Great post, but I even have trouble taking this seriously, to be honest. I would love to put an end to selfishness, but no matter how much I want to give and help others, I also want to plan for my future, in case something happens.

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John October 10, 2011 at 8:48 am

Joe, great points. It all boils down to two rules: love God and love your fellow man. Jesus made this very clear in Matthew 22.

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joeplemon October 10, 2011 at 4:45 pm

@krantcents,
How true. Those who are caught up in their own little worlds (I plead guilty at times) are practicing the opposite of the Golden Rule.

@20s,
Nothing wrong with planning for your future, as long as such planning doesn’t produce greed and tight fistedness. Financially speaking, one can better live out the Golden Rule from a position of strength…meaning one has something to share before he can share it.

@John,
Thanks. And yes, if one can live out those two commandments, everything else in life will fall into place. Jesus knew how to get to the heart of the issue, didn’t he?

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@prayerchristian October 20, 2011 at 7:19 am

I agree. Fully living out the golden rule would change the world. One of the challenges with living it out, it seems to me, is that so many of us don’t know who we are — that we are God’s precious children — so we don’t treat *ourselves* as God wants us to treat ourselves, much less do we treat others as God would want them to be treated.

Thanks for the post.

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