Scripture ~ “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.” Matthew 7:12 The Message translation.
Spiritual Focus ~ “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Golden Rule
Breath Prayer ~ BE Kind*
Devotion ~ The Golden Rule is a universally known ethic that directs us to behave in a way that we would hope others would behave toward us. Almost every culture, religion, philosophy, and spirituality have some form of this ethic in either its positive or negative form. The core of this teaching is an ethic of reciprocity.
In what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches this ethic of reciprocity to his disciples. In today’s scripture Jesus is quoting the Golden Rule from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), most probably from Leviticus and Deuteronomy, though the ethic is found throughout scripture. This central teaching continues to be relevant for us today as it clearly communicates how to live a moral life in a way that affords us the abundant life God intends for us.
Our summer devotional series is entitled “Being Human” to remind us that, despite different cultural norms, we are all in this thing called the human race together. Sometimes we find ourselves drained of the energy we need to be compassionate, empathic, or hopeful and to live the full intent of the Golden Rule. Yet we can still be kind. Exploring ways other cultures have understood and practiced the Golden Rule informs us on the importance of, at the very least, being a kind human.
In the Sanskrit tradition of yoga in India, the ancient epic story of the Mahabharata (400 BCE-400 CE ) tells of a sage who says to the king, “One should never do something to others that one would regard as an injury to one’s own self.” In the Hindu tradition this is dharma, defined as a cosmic law underlying one’s behavior and social order.
The Golden Rule seems so logical, so reasonable, such a simple ethic that is passed down from ancient times—yet easily forgotten in practice. Perhaps one way we revisit the practice of this reciprocity ethic as citizens of the human race is by being kind to ourselves and to each other.