Many of us have been raised to believe that we need to treat others the way we want to be treated. We are encouraged to follow that wonderful advise of Jesus, as He shared with us the importance of caring for others. We have tried to stop doing things to others that we don’t want done to ourselves. But have we recognized what that truly means?
Perhaps I hadn’t seen this phenomena until I started interacting with more people from our world. Interpreting this rule is a little trickier than I once thought. It appears that having a more globalized planet and church has caused us to need a new version of this classic.
You see, when I want someone to act according to this rule for me, while I do want them to treat me well, I don’t always want them to treat me the way they want to be treated. I want them to treat me the way I want to be treated. While the original version works at a low level of action, like don’t punch people unless you want to be punched, for some of the deeper issues, this interpretation just doesn’t seem to work.
When I want someone to live according to the golden rule, I want them to consider how I feel, not just how they feel. I want them to treat me the way I want to be treated, not how they want to be treated. And now with more global expressions of love, peace, hope, pain etc, what people need in situations can be quite drastically different than I understood in the past. It takes increased skills in cultural intelligence to recognize what others truly want.
As followers of the teachings of Jesus, we need to increase our sensitivity and understanding of those from different cultural backgrounds. This applies to all believers of Jesus around the world. As we express the love for others that we are expected to express, we will deepen our love for people within their own cultures and expressions of faith. This will truly help us to treat others the way the want, need and deserve to be treated. That is a golden rule 2.0.