Weekly Devotional: Living by the Golden Rule

Two friends spending time together in a park

The golden rule is something many of us have been familiar with since childhood. The phrase may remind us of lessons we learned in elementary school about treating others. But how can we live by the golden rule as we experience college and enter the adult world? Living by the golden rule is still relevant to us today, and in this devotional, we will take a look at how to live by the golden rule together.

In This Devotional:

What Is the Golden Rule?

The golden rule is a term used to reference a particular guideline in scripture, which was preached to the public by Jesus during his infamous Sermon on the Mount. The rule can be found in both Matthew and Luke’s gospels (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31). While the Bible does not call this “the golden rule,” this is how we all became familiar with the phrase. 

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. — Matthew 7:12, NIV

The golden rule means to apply the logic of treating others the way we would like to be treated to every situation we face when interacting with others. We all desire to be treated with kindness and consideration for our own feelings and preferences. Treating others the way we want to be treated could look like offering them the kind of treatment they would appreciate or need the most. It offers a framework for how to treat other people in the various situations we will encounter in life.

How Does the Golden Rule Apply to Me?

The golden rule goes beyond just a Sunday School or kindergarten lesson. It is actually a very valuable piece of moral and ethical wisdom that can be widely applied throughout our lives.

The golden rule captures the sentiment of the moral guidelines in the law of the Old Testament, which is what Jesus was referring to in Matthew 7:12. Loving your neighbor as yourself is considered one of the most important of the Ten Commandments, next to loving God, according to Jesus in Matthew 22. The golden rule relates to this commandment, explaining that in all things, loving your neighbor as yourself means to treat them the way you want to be treated. 

The guidelines for how to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to God can be summarized by this one rule, making it very applicable. It is the main message behind a huge portion of our Bibles and the most important piece of our moral framework. The golden rule applies to how we should develop our moral codes and how we should behave in our daily interactions with friends, family and acquaintances. Yes, it even applies to how we should treat our enemies. 

How To Live By the Golden Rule

Let’s examine how to live by the golden rule after understanding what it means and how it applies to us.

  • Reflect on how others have made you feel. Think about the times when others have treated you well. Maybe they made an extra effort to care for you while you struggled with something or were patient and understanding during an argument. Think about how others have hurt you with their words and actions. Reflecting on how those people made us feel can help us recognize the ways we should behave toward others. 
  • Pay attention to those around you. Paying closer attention to others helps you understand them better as people and can help you become more empathetic to their perspectives and feelings. Paying attention to others also helps us become familiar with opportunities to step up and do something considerate for someone else in need.
  • Be considerate of others. This means considering the other person’s perspective, feelings and experience. You could ask yourself, How can I treat them compassionately in a way they will appreciate? How can I treat others fairly and justly while still remaining kind?

Are you interested in developing a strong moral and ethical framework that you can use to help make a positive impact in the lives of others? Consider applying for a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies from Grand Canyon University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, where you can examine ethical and legal issues from a Christian perspective. Fill out the form on this page to begin your journey.

Approved by the local outreach coordinator of the Office of Spiritual Life on Jan. 18, 2024.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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