The Golden Rule, After All These Years, It’s Still Golden

At its heart, the Golden Rule emphasizes the gift of giving. Not giving to get but giving because giving is so good!

After all these years, it’s still golden.

Taxi driver Kent Nerburn had been dispatched to pick up a passenger in the middle of the night. His passenger turned out to be an elderly lady who was in need of a ride at 2:30 a.m. on a warm August night. She was clearly very frail. After knocking on her door and being given entry, he loaded her baggage and then allowed her to lean on him as she slowly made her way to the backseat of the taxi.

She asked him why he was so kind.

He said, “It's nothing; I just try to treat my passengers as I'd want my mother to be treated."

That’s what we call the Golden Rule, taken from the powerful words that Jesus uttered at his famous Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew, Chapter 7, Verse 12 – “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you. . .”

The elderly passenger’s doctor had told her that she didn’t have much time left to live, and she told Kent that she was going to hospice care to live out her final days.

As they talked, she said she wasn’t in a hurry and Kent drove her around town for two solid hours, revisiting places that she had once lived and worked and enjoyed. He turned off the meter and just drove, and his gesture made her so happy.

She finally told him she was tired, and he drove her to the hospice. There, she tried to pay him, but he said, “No charge - it was my pleasure." He later said that he would always remember that day and considered it a high point in his life.

So, what is the Golden Rule doing in a blog intended for married couples? Well, it is most appropriate! Can you imagine if husbands consistently treated their wives by the words of Jesus – treat her the way you want to be treated. Can you picture the prosperous marriages if wives accorded their husbands the respect imparted by following the Golden Rule?

What about family, and society, and workplaces? What about politics? Can you imagine that?

If we followed the words of Jesus, how much better off would we all be? How much richer in character would we be? How much more would we actually cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, and so much more?

Nowadays, those who choose to follow those beautiful words are called “soft” and “weak.”

Who doesn’t appreciate it when they are treated with respect, kindness, and love? Love in its purest form requires nothing in return. But love at its best, being love, reciprocates. At its heart, the Golden Rule emphasizes the gift of giving. Not giving to get but giving because giving is so good!

How can we apply the Golden Rule to our everyday lives?

Notice the Needs of Those Around Us. Sometimes, we only see the “home runs” when it comes to giving. The philanthropist who gives $1 million dollars to a charity. The wife who plans an extravagant event complete with a limo ride for her husband’s birthday, the husband who sends his wife 100 roses, and on and on and on. But what about the everyday, ordinary gestures that can be so meaningful to someone else?

The ravages of COVID-19 have most certainly made us even more cautious and I’m not saying start picking up hitchhikers. But I am saying that opportunities to be kind are plentiful. What about holding the door open for the person behind you? Or saying a cheerful hello. Or letting someone in a long line of traffic. Or giving a deserving company a positive review. What about calling a friend or family member just to say hello and chat, especially if they live alone or are having a hard time? Philippians 2:4 says, “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Practice the Lost Art of Empathy. Before you fire off that harsh, all-caps text or fire back, just put yourself in the other person’s place for a moment. What if, just what if, they are really going through a bad patch? No, you don’t ever want to condone poor behavior but there is sometimes a reason, or reasons, that people behave the way they do. Perhaps a word of kindness from you can turn their day around. Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself."

Remember, No Two People Are Exactly Alike. We are all so different. What floats my boat may sink yours, and vice-versa. We are all wired differently. What pushes my buttons may not faze Vanessa in the least! Treat everyone well with the mindset of doing not what’s good for you but what’s good for them. 1 Corinthians 10:24 says “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

I end with the words Kent wrote some years later about that fateful night, a night that turned out to be the ride of his life.

“We are so conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments,” he said. “But great moments often catch us unawares. When that woman hugged me and said that I had brought her a moment of joy, it was possible to believe that I had been placed on earth for the sole purpose of providing her with that last ride.”

“I do not think that I have ever done anything in my life that was any more important.”

After all these years, it’s still golden.

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