The golden rule is the foundation of many religions. It basically states that we are to treat others the way we would like to be treated.
If we all sincerely sought to lovingly apply this one rule, it could make the world a much better place. But applying it isn't that simple.
For example, I love peanuts. But if I give others a jar of peanuts, as I might love them to do to me, they might die if they suffer from a severe allergy to peanuts. Even my eating peanuts near them could be fatal to them.
Similarly, I often enjoy privacy. I might consider obeying the golden rule to include giving my neighbors privacy. But if my neighbors enjoy fellowship, they might consider obeying the golden rule to require visiting me regularly.
Obviously, each individual is different. Applying the golden rule appropriately requires:
- me finding out what makes others happy
- me seeking to do that within reasonable limits
- and others seeking to find out what makes me happy and doing it within reasonable limits
Successfully following these three steps may require some compromises or associating mainly with those who most resemble us in our views.
It also includes learning better how to recognize when others are in need and how to help them -- as we would like them to help us when necessary.
It is also important to employ a sincere determination not to take advantage of anyone -- just as we don't want others to take advantage of us (or anyone else). Obeying the golden rule leads to everyone doing his or her fair share.
Treating everyone fairly, rejoicing with them when they succeed, ministering to them in their hurts, and each of us benefiting from the bonds of friendship that develop, are admirable goals to seek after.
It isn't easy to do. I almost always fall short in my attempts to follow the golden rule. And I am not qualified to give expert advice on how to best adhere to it. However, when I practice the golden rule along the guidelines listed above, I often find that it seems to almost work miracles. I can see why it is such an important part of so many religions and laws in one way or another. I love the golden rule.