Wednesday, March 9, 2011

do or do not... there is no try

we (collectively) know the Golden Rule... "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." - Luke 6:31... but how do we really put this into action?... William Barclay's Parables of Jesus just enlightened me to something i did not see... the vast majority of us, myself included, actually think of this in the negative... that is to say "Don't do unto others that which you would not want done to you."... simply put, if you wouldn't want to be kicked, don't kick someone else... notice the negative... would not... do not... we practice the Golden Rule in the negative... almost, in the reverse... we may even say, "I don't want my money stolen, so I will not steal from others."... some may hide the directness of their selfishness in phraseology... using empathy to imply, "If I were in your place, I would not like that treatment," but that isn't what is meant.

practicing the Negative Golden Rule is simplicity, itself... all i have to do is not be a horrible person... i can justify my "goodness" by showing how much bad i did not do!... by my inaction, i'm a defacto great guy... the best part is, i didn't do anything to receive the self-bestowed title!... by this logic, my sitting at home on the couch watching television is the equivalent of Mother Theresa working with lepers... she went out and helped them, but i'm equally great because i didn't curse at them, steal from them, or murder them... all the things i didn't do, but could have.

salvation by inaction.

but that's not what the Golden Rule actually says... it takes the positive view, not negative... it says "Do"... that requires action... "Do not" is easy, but doing is hard... the Golden Rule is more than a suggestion; it's a command... it demands that we go out and "Do unto others"... but more than that, we must do things which we would want done for ourselves... if we were in need, would we want someone to give us help?... of course!... therefore, when we are not in need, we must seek out those in need and help them... would we feel better if someone paid us a compliment?... yes; so find something and someone to compliment.

today, right now, someone is cold, hungry, drug addicted, afraid, or lost... are we doing to others as we would have them do unto us?... or are we one of those who "Do not"?

i don't care if you believe in God, Allah, Vishnu, or none-of-the-above... if you're atheist, you should still read these words and understand their meaning... this isn't religion... this is how you treat your fellow human... this is a moral understanding of the world... it also just happens to be recorded in the Christian Bible... Quid est veritas?

Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
- Luke 6:30-31

[W]hen you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
- Matthew 6:2-3

Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
- Luke 18:9-13

If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
- Romans 12:20-21

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