Living Out the Golden Rule
We have heard of the golden rule: do unto others what you want them to do unto you. It is a derivative of Jesus' sermon on how we should treat others - as we want them to treat us.
Matthew 7:12 says, "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."
This attitude is about putting ourselves in someone else's place instead of us trying to put them in their place. There's a big difference: the first shouts empathy, humility, love, and genuine concern. The second one reeks of arrogance and privilege.
To relate well with people, we need to decide how we want them to treat us, then begin to treat them in the same manner. It starts in us.
But how do we want to be treated? A little introspection will give us a few answers, such as the following:
Respect should come naturally from everyone, regardless of social status or educational background. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be the case. Some people think too highly of themselves that they look down on others with lesser privilege than them. On the other hand, some disdain authorities and rob people of the respect they deserve. We have turned into a dog-eat-dog world.
But deep inside, we long to be respected. We want people to regard us not as inferior nor scum of the world but as someone with dignity and grace.
To live out the golden rule is to offer respect to everyone. Give it to people in authority. Also, give it to people who submit to your authority. People say respect begets respect, but we don't wait until we receive it from others. We offer it first.
People who are well-appreciated function well. Have you ever worked in an environment where all you hear are criticisms and ridicule from people around you? It saps motivation, and it depletes energy. But those who often receive appreciation for their contributions are happy people.
Let us not be stingy in giving out praise. A simple thank you is enough to uplift one's mood. People burdened with relational, financial, or emotional problems surround us. Let us not add to the weight they are carrying. Lift them with kind words and appreciation. If there's anything we should be stingy about - it's lashing out criticisms.
We want to be appreciated. People want to hear appreciation too! Be the first to offer it to those around you.
With listening ears
We want people to hear what we have to say. That's why we post statuses. That's why we tweet. Sometimes our messages are cryptic, and sometimes "all over" our newsfeed. But the fact remains that we want people to listen to us.
Listening and hearing are two different things. Hearing means "speak so that I can get through this." Listening means, "speak so that you can get through this." Listening is necessary for us to be understood. But people who are patient enough to deal with our stories are hard to find.
So we need to develop our listening skills. The world is full of hurting people wanting to be free from their pains. Perhaps a listening ear is all they need to unload and heal.
The golden rule, do unto others as you want them to do unto you, is a challenging instruction. It is easy to take advantage of people in a generation that focuses on achieving and winning. Shifting from the "me first" to "you first" perspective seems counterintuitive. But in the way of the kingdom, this is but the norm and plausible.
It's a form denying ourselves by considering others than ourselves. The Lord have modeled this on the cross when he sacrificed for us.