Quick question: Can you recite the Golden Rule?
Follow-up questions: Do you know where to find that rule in the Bible? Are these words actually in the Bible? Why is it called golden?

The What
While the principle behind the Golden Rule shows up in many ancient teachings and religious traditions, it is explicitly stated in Scripture. In fact, it is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. For a refresher on the teaching, read the Scripture below.

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt. 7:12-14).

The So What
On several occasions, Jesus summed up the Old Testament law and prophets as He did here in Matthew 7. For example, in Matthew 22:39-40 Jesus said, “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” It’s possible the entire message of obedience can be boiled down to loving and treating others as we’d like to be loved and treated.

You probably have known of the Golden Rule, but have you seriously considered adopting it as a lifestyle? Let’s get hyper-practical for a minute. Listed below are roles and relationships in which you might find yourself. Take a minute to write your thoughts about how you’d like to be treated in these roles:
…as a friend
…as a member of a team
…as a musician in the school band
…as a student in a class
…as a member of your family
…as an employee/coworker

Now let’s expand that list to types of people you may interact with during the next few days. Imagine yourself in each of the following positions and write your thoughts about how you’d like people to treat you:
…as a store cashier/clerk
…as a fast-food worker
…as a customer support rep
…as a restaurant server
…as a teacher
…as an employer/boss
…as a parent

Putting Into Practice
As you’ve written your thoughts about how you’d like to be treated, you’ve actually charted a pathway for obeying Jesus’ Golden Rule about how to treat others. Look at each of your responses and reword them as action steps you can take as you come into contact with people who represent these relationships in your life. In other words, how can you treat them based on how you’d like to be treated? Here are a couple of examples, one from each list above.

Friend:
How you want to be treated: accepted, loved
How you can treat friends: love [friend’s name] although he/she is constantly negative and pessimistic

Fast-food worker:
How you’d want to be treated: with respect and courtesy
How you can treat fast-food workers: be patient with them (and their many tasks) and respect them as people (who have feelings, too).

Set a timeframe, such as the next seven or next 30 days to be obsessed with the Golden Rule. Two things to keep in mind: First, Jesus opened the Golden Rule teaching with the phrase “in everything,” which covers a lot of relationships and interactions; second, we must be intentional, because it won’t happen automatically. Jesus’ followed the Golden Rule with the teaching that the gate is narrow and few find it.

Be one of the few. In fact, be one of the golden few.

About The Author

Barry Shafer has been communicating the truth of God’s Word since 1984 as a volunteer youth leader, youth pastor, pastor, author and speaker. Barry, with his late wife Dana, founded InWord Resources in 1996 to strengthen youth ministry with discipleship materials and experiences that meaningfully engage teens in Scripture. Barry is author of Unleashing God’s Word in Youth Ministry (Youth Specialties/Zondervan) and has written numerous teen devotionals and small-group Bible studies. When Barry’s not studying, writing, being a diva spouse, or “daddy-ing” Reade, you can find him reading on the porch, biking on a trail, pulling for the Packers, or playing a little golf.

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