Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Golden Rule

I'm assigned to give the thought during our weekly devotional at work in a couple of weeks and I've decided to talk about the Golden Rule as found in Matthew 7:12.

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them.

Several years ago I remember reading a magazine article that talked about it as a code of conduct that is common to nearly all major world religions. That makes me think that our ability to get along and treat each other well must be a fundamental truth... one that Heavenly Father considers vitally important to our growth and development during the time we are here on the Earth. While I can't locate a copy of that specific article, I've reconstructed as best I can remember the quotes from the sacred writings of many churches via the magic of websearch.

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them. Matthew 7:12 KJV

Bahai Faith:
Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee… Baha’u’llah

Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. Udana-Varga 5:18

Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence. Mencius VII

This is the sum of duty: do not do unto others what would cause pain if done unto you. Mahabharata 5:1517

None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself. Number 13 of Imam

What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary. Talmud, Shabbat 31a

The sage has no interest of his own, but takes the interests of the people as his own. He is kind to the kind; he is also kind to the unkind: for Virtue is kind. He is faithful to the faithful; he is also faithful to the unfaithful: for Virtue is faithful. Tao Teh Ching, ch. 49

An harm it none, do what thou wilt. The Wiccan Rede

That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself. Dadistan-i-dinik 94:5

Ancient Egyptian:
Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do. The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, translated by RB Parkinson. The original text dates to 1970-1640 BC and may be the earliest version ever written.

As I was thinking about these quotes, I was reminded of the time I was in the hospital with the badly screwed up thyroid meds. I quit breathing in ICU that first night. And while the whole experience is quite surreal, I remember the internal struggle between that part of me that wanted to stay and the part that kept saying 'it's too hard, I can't.' And I was aware of that last breath and of my spirit slipping out of my body. No... there was no white light, no welcoming committee of dead relatives and friends to greet me, no Jesus to pat me on the back and tell me my important and unique mission earth wasn't complete yet. I do remember being very much at peace and on the edge of a grand adventure - there was nothing fearful about it, just nothing spectacular either. And that's not the part of the experience that takes me back to ponder the lesson to be found in it.

What I find fascinating is the struggle between staying and going. My thoughts were about the people in my life and how they would be affected. Would they be okay? Would they figure out what I was doing with some project and be able to pick it up and finish? Did they know how much I loved them and cared about them? Every thought was consumed with people and my relationship with them. There was no care or consideration of what I did for a living, a bank balance or any possessions.

Kind of affirms that idea of a fundemental truth being we need to treat each other well, huh?

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