The Golden Rule
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7:12)
September 28 is considered the birthday of Chinese philosopher and teacher Confucius, born in 551 B.C. At the time, China was struggling with civil strife and internal conflict. Corruption in government was rampant and the people were suffering. Confucius called for order, self-discipline, and respect for others. He said people’s actions should be governed by “ren,” often translated as loving others. He wrote, “What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.”
This bit of wisdom crosses peoples and cultures throughout time. When a student asked the Jewish rabbi Hillel if he could recite the Torah while standing on one foot, the great rabbi replied, "Whatever is hateful and distasteful to you, do not do to others. This is the entire Torah, the rest is commentary. Go learn."
In Islam, it can be stated as, ““No one of you is a believer until you desire for others that which you desire for yourself.” The same wisdom can be found in ancient Rome and Greece, Hinduism, and Native American cultures.
Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
Why do we find it so hard to do?
Why do we gossip about others when we don’t want others to gossip about us?
Why do we tell lies when we hate being lied to?
Why do we bully, abuse, tear down, cheat, steal, judge, and otherwise disrespect others knowing we would never want such things to happen to ourselves?
Perhaps we just forget. We forget the wisdom prophets and sages have been teaching for centuries. We get caught up in our busy lives and forget to take others into consideration. We become so convinced of our own rightness, or the superiority of our “side” we forget to listen and empathize with our neighbor.
So let us take this opportunity to remember the birthday of Confucius and remember this important teaching. We’ve had 2500 years to heed his wisdom. Perhaps some day we will. That would be golden!