Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Making America Good Again: The Golden Rule

We have all been taught, I hope:  "Do to others as you would have them do to you." 

Some form of the Golden Rule appears in almost every faith and culture.  Just Google it.  Eugene Peterson in The Message paraphrases Jesus's words this way: 

Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior:
Ask yourself what you want people to do for you;
then grab the initiative and do it for them! 

We often think about the Golden Rule in relation to big things, like helping the poor or demanding justice.  But for now, think about applying the Golden Rule in the small things that happen everyday. 

I challenge you to pick a day and try to live the Golden Rule for 24 hours. 

Yesterday, I ran a bunch of errands.  My Golden Rule day included letting folks pull ahead of me in traffic, opening doors for some older ladies, and patiently waiting in line at the meat counter for $2.99-a-pound chicken and ground beef with a dozen other folks.

I smiled and made eye contact with folks, including the lonely looking old guy in the motorized shopping cart who also got a "how ya doing?"

I had my purchases organized and my credit card ready to go.  I made small talk with the cashier (no phone!) and thanked her and the person who helped me with my groceries.

On other errand days, I have helped people get something off the top shelf, given money to the person in front of me to complete their purchase, complimented a mom taking the time to explain something to her kids, bought stuff for the food bank, and let the person with just a few things go ahead of me. 

I also didn't do some things that I wouldn't want others to do.  I didn't blame the pharmacist that there was an issue with my prescription.  I didn't yell at the guy sweeping the floor because there was no mouthwash on the shelves.  And other than using these as illustrations for you, I didn't brag to anybody about doing this stuff.

All simple things, but if I were in these peoples' shoes, I would want someone to acknowledge me and not blame me for things that weren't my fault.

There is the key.  Be aware of the other guy.  The Golden Rule encourages us to focus on other people and not be consumed by our own needs and wants.  Be intentional about what those around you might be going through and take the initiative to interact and help them. 

Take up my challenge and live the Golden Rule for a whole day. Don't forget to pay attention to family, friends and co-workers, too. Let me know how it goes.  Maybe you'll like it and make it a habit!

Tomorrow - Another Golden Rule Challenge

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