Endangered: The Golden Rule



When is the last time words flew from your mouth you wished you could take back, but they had already scattered like feathers in the wind?

How often do you lash out with words or actions, and then steep in regret?

I’ve watched the firestorm of comments on social media this week regarding a few different issues- everything from homosexuality, to racism, to bizarre homeschooling bills.

In fact, I myself was a victim of verbal attack because of a comment I made on a blog where I spoke in defense of a former student I had. We believed he suffered from abuse in the home. My little paragraph invited a firestorm of hurtful comments I never expected. That story will be a post on another day.

I don’t care to speak to any one issue. Instead, I want to speak to all of us, which includes this person behind the keyboard.

Most of us learn in preschool or kindergarten to treat others the way we in turn would like to be treated. In fact, at my son’s school, they say a school pledge every day that says, “I will treat others right.” We call this the Golden Rule. This rule is not unique to Christianity. It is a rule that spans world cultures, religions, and time.

What seems apparent is that many of us, at least upon occasion, have relegated this rule we should know so well to the back corners of our minds. Through our fear, anger, or feelings of entitlement we strike out at others. We forget how it feels to be the recipient on the other end. Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes just takes too much effort. Opening our mouths and spewing is so much easier.

I want my words to be seasoned with grace, yet I know I fail. I’ve struggled with my “tone” ever since I was a little girl. Even now, my words may come out fine, but somehow my tone drips venom. A simple “no” response to my husband over a simple inquiry can have a nonverbal “you idiot” attached to the end. I’m working on this.

The next week will be filled with celebrations. Those celebrations include many family and friends. We are well aware that tensions can run high in some families. What should be a festive time can in fact become a miserable few hours due to relational problems. My challenge to you is to remember this rule we’ve forgotten. Take a deep breath. Pray for grace. Practice kindness. Do your best to not say or do something you’ll regret. We cannot control the actions of others, but we can control our own. 

Blessings to all of you for a Merry Christmas!

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Photo from Stock Exchange


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