T h e G o l d e n R u l e : In Our Relationships
Imagine that you’re feeling very upset, so much that you are feeling overwhelmed and you do not know what to do about it, and you’d like for your spouse, your boyfriend, a close friend, a parent or whomever else to just give you a hug. Or maybe a few words of affirmation. Maybe you’d find it loving and reassuring of them to do a loving act for you, get you a little gift, or for them just to spend a little bit more time on you. A very simple solution that would lift you up just a little, and enough to get you by for a bit longer. Now, say that you’re also feeling a little bit attacked by that person, but you still really want that hug, that time, that gift, those words, or that service. Maybe you two just shared a harsh word, maybe there’s been a repeated negative experience when you needed reassurance in the past from that person, or there was some other offense that occurred. Yet, you still really want them to care for you.
When I experienced that just this morning, my first response was to slink away. I was feeling hurt, and I needed the reassurance of my husband to comfort me. Instead of confronting him, to let him know of my expectations, I went into another room, basically avoiding him. All I needed from him was a simple hug, but instead I made him feel like he did something wrong, and I did not want to be by him. As we were talking about it later, I realized how selfish I really did act, and it dawned on me that, from prior experience, I should know that if I want him to meet my needs, and I am unable to tell him vocally, I need to show him by doing it myself first. When you’re hurt, this is a very hard step, I know, especially if this other person was the one who hurt you. But if they are the one that you’re seeking reassurance from, you need to let them know that you’re confront-able as well, you will not attack them if they’ve realized what they’ve done and want to apologize and reassure you. The distance I put between Justin and myself was unnecessary and not intended. Yet how many times in your life do you put space in between those that you love, when all you really want is to be close to them?
The Golden Rule is found in the Bible, in Matthew 7:12, where it says that, “Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them – this is the Law and the Prophets.” “The Law and the Prophets” in this context is referring to the Old Testament, which is indicating to us that this ‘rule’ has been around for a very long time. So, if it was also spoken of in the New Testament, it must work!
If you want to speak most effectively to those you are in relationships with, if you want to show them that you are willing to meet their needs ahead of yours being met, put this verse into practice. As you begin to do it more, you will automatically do it by habit, becoming more selfless.
And as a bonus, check out what God says about us meeting the needs of others: “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” Luke 6:35-38
The BOTTOM LINE: Are you treating others how God instructs us to treat them, or are you being harsher than necessary? Be cautious of your actions this week, and be prepared to receive the blessing that God will pour out in return.