The king of inclusion casts a big net

I read somewhere that the reason things are so complicated is because we make them that way.  When we’re presented with a problem that seems particularly daunting we’ll complexify it (yeah, I made that up)  so that we can do a couple of things.  First, we’ll convince ourselves that to solve the problem we must construct elaborate processes and evaluations and analyses in order to understand the problem.  Then, we’ll form committee’s and sub-committees and tortuous hierarchies that must be run through in order to get to the bottom of this massive problem.  All this allows us to put off the hard work that is the actual, not so complicated solution.  The solution is simplified in Matthew by a guy named Jesus.

Matthew 7: 12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

To be fair the solution Jesus offers is big and wide too.  He uses the word whatever, and not in the catty, valleygirlesque way that runs through my 80’s teenager head.  He simply says that anything we do to someone else ought to be the way we would want them to treat us.  But that’s not always easy, is it?  Think about the times someone treated you unlike the way you wanted to be treated.  Was your next encounter with someone else affected in some way?  Were you short with them?  Were you uncharacteristically gruff?  Was your countenance not its normal, saintly self?  I have to admit that personally, it’s three strikes and I’m out.  See, treating others the way you want to be treated seems not so hard until you factor in the other people who aren’t playing by these rules.  And those people cannot be avoided.

They will cut you off in traffic, not use their turn signal and butt into line ahead of you when you did the right thing and got over WAY back three blocks ago!  The nerve, right?!  Somehow they apparently never heard of this “Golden Rule” under which you operate.  Then someone else tries to offend, or just gets in the way, and then “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” runs through our head and the golden rule goes out the window.  Jesus doesn’t make that distinction though.

He doesn’t say that we should treat only others who treat us well as we would like to be treated.  He says “others.”  Can’t get much more inclusive than that, can you?  He also says “whatever”.  Can’t get much wider-reaching than that I don’t think.  He doesn’t form a task force, craft a mission statement or use a focus group.  In fact he says you can throw out all the laws and the wise people that came before and will probably continue to come and stick with this one thing.

If you want to know how to act, just act toward everyone else the way you want them to act toward you.  Do that, and you’re golden.  Be warned though, it’s not easy.  It’s big and it’s wide and it’s simple, but not easy.  You’re going to need some help.  But if you ask for it, if you seek it and if you knock on that door; you’ll find the help you need.

The old Golden Rule isn’t called the Easy Golden Rule for a reason.  I hope you’ll take it out and give it a try though.  Who knows, with some exercise you might just be able to strengthen that thing up.

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