Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 20, 1958

Rule Seldom Followed

Jack L. Holt, Port Arthur, Texas

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them ..." (Matt. 7:12.)

In this very beautiful and well known passage our Lord gives us a rule of life that is unexcelled for its simplicity, and in the results contemplated. It has been called "The Golden Rule" by men because they recognize its great value. But while this rule is well known, it is very seldom followed. In a world where strife, jealousy, pride and ambition are rampant, this well known rule is, paradoxically, an unknown or forgotten rule. Nowadays men generally follow the rule, "Do to others as they do to you," or "Do to others before they do to you!" In general the "Golden Rule" is an ideal which men adore, rather than a practical principle which they follow. Thus the benefits and blessings this rule would bring to this world of sin, if followed, is nullified by the evil hearts of men as they ignore its teaching.

But while we reflect upon the tendency of the world to ignore this rule, let us not forget that there are many in the church of our Lord who also willfully ignore its teaching. In the very place and among the very people who should be the chief advocates of so lovely a precept, we find that it has no place in their hearts. All too often their hearts are also filled with jealousy and pride. It is sad to contemplate, but 'tis true indeed that some of the Lord's people are so eaten by jealousy and pride that it is impossible for them to follow this rule. It seems that some have adopted the rule, "I will see that you get nothing I do not have." And strange as it may seem, there have been instances where members of the church have been so afraid that someone might get a little credit that they do not have that they have stooped so low as to cause strife in the church, and have even prevented the gospel from being preached to the lost! Have we reached the point where we need to change the rule to fit our hard hearts ? Do we wish it would read, "I insist that you do right by me, but I will do as I please by you?"

A little understanding and intelligence and fairness enough to see the "other side" is absolutely essential if we ever live according to this rule. "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you . .." Well, what ? "Do ye even so unto them." This simply means, do to them as you would be done by if you were in their place. How often is this done? How often do we say inwardly or audibly to another, "I understand your problems, and I know how you feel, so to the best of my ability I will do to you, as I would want you to do to me if I were in your place?" Believe it or not, the application of such goes a long way in determining whether one is a true follower of the Lord or if he is merely a hypocrite who is shining outwardly, but inwardly is full of rottenness.

In a world darkened by sin, and often in the midst of brethren who have forgotten this rule, how we need to make sure that "All things whatsoever ye would that men do to you, do ye even so unto them for this is the law and the prophets."