The Golden Rule: A Bitter Pill

Bitter PillDo unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Some of the most powerful words ever spoken and ever written.  Matthew 7:12 says just that and these words are referred to by many as the Golden Rule. 

In its application one would imagine that the Golden Rule is easy and even fun to follow and making it part of one’s life should therefore be simple.  The truth is often far from easy, simple or fun and there are times when one could be easily forgiven for giving the Golden Rule a miss and there are many, myself included who have said “just this once” when the thought of applying the Golden Rule just sat a little awkwardly. It is at this point where every one of us fails, few if any people are perfect at applying the Golden Rule and every one of us fails a great deal more times that we would truly hope for.

But follow the rule we must. Throughout the centuries the application the Golden Rule has changed the course of battles, seen disputes avoided and seen fortunes change hands. The Golden Rule requires trust and faith when applied as it is written in Matthew 7:12 following on from Matthew 6:33  when putting the God first brings reward, and because of this anyone should not fear applying the rule when it does not feel right. It may well be that you think the person you are dealing with  for whatever reason is  not exactly in your good books,  but the Golden Rule does not discriminate between people and refers to them merely as others.  It is as this point where the Bitter Pill often has to be swallowed in order to apply the Golden Rule.

Fear is the one of the greatest hindrances of success or happiness and that fear, the fear of not knowing the outcome when applying the Golden Rule is what stops us from applying it. We worry about how we will be seen by others, our friends and our families when we do unto someone who perhaps does not deserve it as we would have them do unto us.  It takes a braver and stronger man to do this than one who uses the “just this once” excuse.  Applying the Golden Rule in this instance may be a little difficult but if in applying it you do as you would expect others to do for you then it is right.

Life is full of opportunities to apply the Golden Rule and there are countless times when it has to be applied when we don’t really want to apply it. In the work place for example, if someone has said something or done something that hurts you, offends you or even makes you look bad it is not a great place to be. Feeling offended is not nice and often in the workplace it is very much out in the open where people you know well.  Grudges run deep and whilst things eventually settle down and work carries on, somewhere deep inside we all have the thought “I will never help him again”. But you will end up in that place where you are asked to help that person again and when you help and apply the Golden Rule you are required to be happy about it and even go a little further than you should because it is what you would want others to do for you.

So you that bitter pill called pride and apply the Golden Rule. It feels a little awkward and the conversation between you and the one you think is least deserving may be a little reserved, but you do what you must and do it with all your heart and to the best of or better than your abilities. It is as this point that the Golden Rule shines and all that fear and worry is washed away.

Inside you have now overcome a Giant, you have done to others as you would have done to you and it feels good.  Others will see this and without you knowing the person you think doesn’t really deserve notices and is actually grateful. Your applying the Golden Rule may have just turned your circumstances around, your respect has certainly been restored and you have won a battle. It was a nasty, foul pill to swallow but through faith and knowing it was the right thing to do you have come out victorious.

I know in my life I have had countless times where I have had to do something for or with someone I felt did not deserve it or people I did not at the time particularly like. Using my kindness and desire to apply the Golden Rule I overcame and broke down barriers and today some of those I felt didn’t really deserve my help for whatever reason have become lifelong friends.

Heart PillsThe Golden Rule is something that can change a person, change a company, change a church and change the world. When Christ hung on the cross he hated every second of it, we as men did not deserve his love and this ultimate act of kindness. Christ even hand the torture worsened by being offered bitter vinegar to drink and yet he swallowed it all, pain, hurt, sin. Christ applied the Golden Rule doing for others that nobody else could do but if there was he would expect them to. He was in a way selfish and accepted his crucifixion to allow others to live.

Doing something for others and applying the Golden rule when they don’t really deserve it or you just don’t want to is hard, but when applied the results are glorious and this glory is far greater than any bitterness you had to swallow to achieve it.

Like Gold, it has to go through the fire to become pure so we in our actions sometimes have to do the same. A single piece of pure gold has been through more torture to bring a smile to a face or say “I love you” than anything on earth. When you give Gold, even a small piece of fractional Gold Bullion and if you respect the pain the Gold has been through so that you may give it in return for a smile, a thank you or a “yes” then you understand the Golden Rule.   


Matt Newnham is a Christian, Writer and Speaker. He is a single father and lives in Cape Town, South Africa. Matt is passionate about life and success and his ability to touch the heart of readers has earned him the title “The Master of Emotional Appeal” Follow Matt on Twitter @MattNewnhamZA and on his Facebook Page

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