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July 2012 - Following the Golden Rule

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John A. Kline, PhD jkline@klinespeak.com
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Dr. John KlineI grew up believing we should follow the Golden Rule. I still believe that. But we need to understand what the Rule means.

While the Golden Rule finds its origins before the time of Christ (e.g., Leviticus 19:18 says “love your neighbor as yourself”), most people quote Matthew 7:12 which records Christ’s words as, always “treat people the same way you want them to treat you.” (NASB) Or “in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” (NIV)

I enjoy receiving recognition for a job done well. But there are times when I want my contributions to remain anonymous. One time I wanted my efforts to go unnoticed and I made that clear. Imagine my embarrassment when my contribution was announced publically. When I asked the official why he had done this, his response was, “Well, I knew If it were me, I would want people to know, so I was just following the Golden Rule of treating you the way I wanted to be treated.” I thanked him, but I was not pleased.

That event which happened years ago gave me a deeper understanding of the meaning of the Golden Rule. To love others as much as we love ourselves and to treat people the way you want them to treat you means we must understand and empathize with the needs, wants, and desires of others. I would like people to treat me the way I would like to be treated; so I should try to treat others the way they would like to be treated.

Follow the Golden Rule. But it is not about doing what we want; it is about loving others so much that we treat them the way they want to be treated and do what is best for them.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

July 2012 - Following the Golden Rule
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