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Real Life Lessons

The Golden Rule

We've all heard that we should treat others like we'd like to be treated ourselves; so many times it's become a trite cliché. We don't even know where the saying came from. We think perhaps that our Grandmother made it up. Or at least somebody's Grandmother.

In fact, Jesus stated it first, two thousand years ago when he said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Like most of His teachings, He was explaining the intent of God's universal laws as expressed in the Hebrew Scripture (found in the Old Testament). Specifically, He was summing up the meaning of the Ten Commandments, the core of God's law given to Moses.

When you think about it, most of the Ten Commandments are about how to treat people; honoring, obeying, and loving your parents and family, not violating someone else's spouse, not committing violent crimes against other people, not stealing from other people, not lusting after someone's partner or possessions.

In other words, God's commandments to us for treating others simply mirror the way that we would like to be treated. Do we want people stealing from us or committing violent crimes against us? Do we want people committing adultery with our spouse? Do we want disobedient or dishonoring children? The "Golden Rule" sums up the Ten Commandments, which in turn sums up the wisdom of the ages, by pointing out that when everybody treats everyone else the way they would like to be treated, we all get to be treated well-and that's why its called "golden."

Amongst all life's rules for living - This one rule is held to be the most valuable in virtually every faith tradition. Jesus boldly declared that the true essence of God's law was to "love others as oneself!"

The exciting thing is that we can begin to practice the essence of God's ground rules for successful living today. When you begin to treat people with love and affection, or respect, when you begin to encourage or show appreciation, most people begin to respond differently towards you.

Many spouses don't get the love or respect that they want because in fact, they don't give it. Many parents don't get the respect or the affection they want because in fact, they haven't given it either. Many of us wonder why we don't have many (or any) friends, but what do we do to make friends--to reach out to people? Do we focus on their needs, hopes and interests rather than just our own? Many of us wonderwhy nobody bothers to hear "our story" or to understand us, without noticing that we are not truly interested in hearing other people's stories, or understanding their trials, tribulations, dreams or disappointments. Empathy and friendship is a two way street.

We may complain at work that our coworkers think of themselves first, or that our employers are not fair. This may or may not be true. But the real question is, "what is your co-workers experience of you?" How do your employees or employer perceive you? Do you treat them the way you want to be treated? If you feel a lack of respect, have you checked to see how respectful you are, or whether your performance or attitude truly merits respect?

Try following Christ's golden rule and see what happens. After a few weeks, people may begin to treat you differently. But even if they don't, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you continue to treat everyone the same way you would like to be treated. With a vast majority of people this will "pay off" and you will notice that you are getting treated the way you would like to be. For a few people it won't make a difference, and that's their loss because what they give out in life is exactly what their are going to get back. The same applies for you. Begin practicing the golden rule, the essence of wisdom, today!