“Do unto others as you would have done unto you”

“I’ll probably forget.”

Dinner Sunday evening was a long lesson in the Golden Rule.  It permutated into the thoughts I posted below about how Jesus could have annihilated His tormentors.

But, in addition to posting this reminder to our human frailty, I wanted to post the separate train of thought.

If the Commandments are summed up as “Love God and love your neighbour as yourself,” then the Natural Law is summed up in the Golden Rule.  It is the most basic ethical principle, found in almost the exact phrasing (save for a negative versus positive approach) in Confucius and Christ.  Found in an unnecessarily complicated phrasing in Kant.  Probably found in other cultures, as well.

But the basic principle of  Natural Law is “don’t hurt other people; be nice to people; treat others as you would be treated.”

The problem is, that like Christians who try to say that “love thy neighbor” can be interpreted as an open-ended justification for anything done for “love,” people take this most basic standard of Natural law as the *only* standard, leading to the idea of “victimless crimes”: “It’s OK for me to do this, because it’s not hurting anybody.”

Of course, the real issue is whether that’s true.  Every sin hurts somebody: it hurts you.  And if the law of Christ is “love your neighbor as yourself,” then you can’t love your neighbor if you’re willing to hurt yourself with sin.

And we also know that, when we hurt our souls and our psychological well being with sin, we hurt the *way* we interact with others.  We also hurt others with the consequences of our sins, even the unseen ones.

So, allow me to introduce a new formulation of the Golden Rule:
“Do unto yourself only as you would do before others.”

One response to ““Do unto others as you would have done unto you”

  1. Good point.

    I also like to reflect on how Jesus told us to love one another as He Himself loved us. That’s asking far more than simply loving as you love yourself. I often fail to do what I know is best for my soul out of laziness or a simple lack of will, for instance. If I love others only as much as I love myself, I am not obeying His command. Jesus demands nothing less than the full submission to His Father’s will that He Himself committed. This command is more than a simple Golden Rule.

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