The Golden Rule is a principle of reciprocity which simply means a “relationship between one’s self and others that involves both sides equally, and in a mutual fashion.” Before the 1670s the “Golden Rule” as we call it was known as the “ethic of reciprocity” which spanned the realms of psychology, philosophy, sociology and religion. It was the standard by which many cultures used to resolve their conflicts due to it’s universality in going beyond the opposing side’s doctrinal dogmas.
The Golden Rule is found in the following:
Christianity All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
Confucianism Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state.
Buddhism Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
Hinduism This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.
Islam No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
In 1963 President Kennedy used the golden rule in an anti-segregation speech while commemorating the first black enrollment at the University of Alabama. He asked whites to consider what it would be like to be treated as second-class citizens because of skin color. Whites were to imagine themselves being black — and being told that they couldn’t vote, or go to the best public schools, or eat at most public restaurants, or sit in the front of the bus. Would whites be content to be treated that way? He was sure that they wouldn’t — and yet this is how they treated others. He said the “heart of the question is … whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated.”
We call the Golden Rule a principle because it is a guiding law that we filter our decisions and behavior through. It it the determining factor that controls our human interaction. A revival of this principle globally would quiet the tension of conflict that is permeating our civilization at this moment. Everyone needs to step back and evaluate what they are fighting for and is it worth the extermination of another human based on their belief system, color, or nationality. Is peace a fleeting thought, pipe-dream, or a figment of someone’s imagination? What if it is this simple to accomplish – treat others the way you want to be treated.
Questions to ask
If my faith persecuted others that were not of my faith – would I want to be persecuted if I was not of my faith?
If I looked down on others and mistreated them due to their skin being different than mine – would I want treated that way if I was of their skin color?
If my political affiliation lied on the other party to succeed – if I was of the other party would I want to be lied on and used to further someone’s agenda?
Reasoning must come into play in our hearts and minds. I am reminded of Isaiah in the Bible when he spoke to Israel who was living in such blatant rebellion against his laws. He said in Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together…” and instead of destroying them, he offered them a seat at the table to discuss the situation. What would happen if we could sit down together and reason together without feeling threatened which would remove all defensive posturing? Not coming together to fight, but to reason.
Let’s start a revolution today! Not with weapons and bullets, but by treating others the way you want to be treated. For one minute – imagine what it would be like if this happened.