Live the Golden Rule Daily by Loving Others

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

Here are some ways to take fresh, new steps to live the rule of love. Jesus gave his disciples and the world a new commandment. It was all about loving:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (John 13:34)

The Jews certainly didn't appear to need a new commandment. They had the Ten Commandments that Moses had written down from God. But they also had hundreds, even thousands, of other ordinances and laws that they had created since then. They believed that in order to be a good Jew, they had to follow all the little laws. What happened was not so shocking, as it happens to us all the time. Many people got so caught up in all the little rituals and things they had to do and got so busy following every rule, that they lost sight of the big picture. They lost sight of the spirit of the original commandments. So, Jesus was reminding them what was truly important -- loving each other.

There are so many different ways to love others. But let's look at what Jesus said in what has come to be called the Golden Rule:

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matt. 7:12)

Eugene Peterson translates his words into very clear terms:

Here's 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 Message, Matt. 7:12)

Let's take this month to "grab the initiative" and put the Golden Rule and Jesus' new commandment into practice every moment of everyday. Here are some ways to make a difference:

  • Think about what you want others to do for you and how you want to be treated.
  • Make a conscious effort to treat them the way you'd like to be treated.
  • This simple action can have a profound effect.
    • If you'd like people to treat you with respect, treat them with respect.
    • If you want others to speak gently towards you, then speak gently to others.
    • If you want others to clean up around the house, go ahead and clean up the house.
    • If you wish others would surprise you with gifts, surprise them.
    • If you'd like some quiet time, provide others with quiet time.
  • You'll find that when you give to others what you'd like to receive, you'll bring good into your own experience.
    • But you can't do things for others expecting to get something back in return.
    • Your gift of treating others with love must be purely unselfish. If it's not, you're not really expressing love.
  • Only say or do things that are motivated by love. Make this priority.
    • If it can be perceived as unloving, don't say it.
    • If it's sarcastic, pointed, reactionary, don't say or do it. This can be tough because a lot of us think that sarcasm is funny. But it's really not. Sarcasm can hurt because usually there's an element of truth to it.
    • We can't control other people's perceptions about what we say or do, but we can think about how our words or actions may affect others. And we can control what we think, say, and do.
  • View tough situations as opportunities to express love.
    • Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where others have said or done something rather mean, and we feel like reacting right then and there.
    • Stop, breathe, and wait. Count to 3, or 10 if you have to, before you talk.
    • Remind yourself that you are going to be loving.
    • Throw off pride and put on humility.
    • Get rid of your own opinions, as Jeremiah did.
    • When you are calm, you will be able to know how to respond:
      • Ask questions to understand the other person--
        • Ask the person if that's what he or she meant;
        • Ask the person what you can do better.
      • You will know if you have to say or do anything, or just remain silent.
  • If you mess up and forget to treat others with love,
    • Apologize to those you slighted or hurt;
    • Ask them to forgive you;
    • Forgive yourself;
    • Realize that we live in the now, and each moment can be new;
    • Don't worry, because you'll have another opportunity to express love and treat others the way you'd like to be treated.

Enjoy living Jesus' new commandment and putting the Golden Rule into practice.