Whether you take it out of the Bible or you simply think it’s a fine way to live, most people agree that abiding by The Golden Rule is a good thing.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
But wait, there’s more.
Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.
1 Corinthians 10:24
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for
building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
So, who are these others? It’s not very specific. I feel a great deal of responsibility to them after reading these verses. Whoever they are, I need to treat them how I want to be treated, I should only say uplifting things that benefit them, and I’m supposed to consider them better than myself and look to their interests.
With no explicit directions as to who exactly falls into this category, I suppose I should just err on the side of caution and treat everyone as others.
That would include the homeless man riding his bike, stopping as I pump gas to ask for spare change. The mother dropping off a child with matted, sticky hair and dirt smudged over his face. The courageous firefighters who spent several days battling blazes to prevent homes from being lost. … Wait, what?
As odd as it sounds, they all fall into the same category.
Friends… Enemies… Frenemies… They’re all others.
The Golden Rule is not a conditional statement. “If an Other does something particularly thoughtful, then return his or her kindness.” Nope. Doesn’t matter who they are or what they’ve done, they’re an other. Better than me, worthy of me considering their interests before my own. Needing to hear uplifting things, needing to be encouraged. Just like me.
That means I’m someone’s other. Hmm… How often do my actions make someone want to break The Rule?