People think that the Golden Rule is simply a good way to live. They believe it is simply obeying what Jesus said to do. I think they believe the rule exists in a vacuum. They believe that it is a nice thing to do but it really makes no difference in the people who receive it. That's why many people often add that they also watch out for themselves when they are confronted with the Golden Rule. It goes something like this: "Yeah, I believe in the Golden Rule but I also make sure people don't take advantage of me either." They fail to see the power of the Golden Rule.
The Golden Rule is not something you can do superficially. It is not intended to be something people grit their teeth and act like they are treating others like they would like to be treated. It must be genuine. No one is really nice to others while hating them. The superficial sugar put on top of the bitter fruit only delays the taste. It is merely acting. It is not following the Golden Rule.
On the other hand, I am not saying that you should act horribly because you feel horrible. Don't think you can treat others badly with impunity. You are still responsible for your actions. I am merely saying that this acting like you are doing someone good is not the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule means that you must change your whole attitude toward the person.
The premise of the Golden Rule is that you treat others like you want to be treated. Think about it. Do you want others treating you well while secretly hating you with every fiber of their being? We want to be loved. We want others to treat us with love. Love is not an act.
Love transcends watching out for yourself. It means you will get hurt at times. You cannot love and stay safe. Those whom you love will disappoint you at some time. They are human with human frailties. They have bad days in which they are short with you. They have frustrating days when they will not give you the time of day. They will think of themselves exclusively on some days. But, don't we all do this some days?
Love strives to forgive. It does not stand still while being beaten. It may get out of the place of harm but immediately seeks to forgive the one causing the harm. The one who loves knows that he or she needs forgiveness for his or her own transgressions are in need of forgiveness.
Love opens the heart of the other person. Many people expect being treated harshly but they struggle with those who treat them with love. It opens them up to the same level that those who are loving them are willing to go. It is easy to be critical of someone you do not know. We do not share anything with those who will violate our trust. We must seek to be understood by being understanding. People only open up to those who have also trusted them.
The Golden Rule was never intended to create how Jesus wanted us to live by staying on a superficial level. It was meant for a complete interaction of people. It was meant to be an exhibition of love as it is was intended.
Can you imagine a church in which the Golden Rule was actually the practiced rule for all individual relationships? Nothing would stand in the path of that church. I believe that was the early church found in Acts 4. And what happened? The Lord added to their number daily.
Can you see the power of the Golden Rule?