The Tarnished Rule

Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

Luke 6:31 (NLT)

Here is a piece of historical information for you. The Statue of Liberty was given to the U.S. as a gift from France. You probably already knew that. But, did you know that when it was originally built, it wasn’t green? The skin of the statue is made of copper. So, when it was originally installed, the skin of the statue would become radiant in the sunlight. It was quite the sight to behold. (So I’m told. I’m not that old!) But, after about 10 years of sitting in the salty air outside of New York, the statue began to turn from shimmering radiance to a dull green. About 20 years later, the transition from radiance to dullness was complete, and the color of the statue we see today in no way resembles the original masterpiece that was constructed.

It’s not uncommon for expensive metals to tarnish over time, and the Statue of Liberty is no exception. The wear and tear of everyday life takes its toll on the shimmer.

Oddly enough, it is the same when it comes to the “Golden Rule,” which is what this verse is often called. I learned it in King James English, which went like this, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Why is this considered “gold?” Because this is a one sentence mission statement for how to live our daily lives.

Parents, Sabbath School teachers, and even preachers, tell kids the Golden Rule many times as they grow up. For kids, it makes sense. If you don’t want Johnny to hit you back, don’t sock him in the arm! If you want Johnny to respect you, treat him with kindness. It’s straight forward. One action leads to a reaction. It can be good or bad, black or white.

However, as we become adults we realize that things in life are not always black and white. There are definitely different shades of grey mixed in. We can become a bit jaded about things, and people, and, as a result, the Golden Rule becomes tarnished over time. It loses its luster, its radiance. But, please note, the rule didn’t change, we did. We tarnished it. By our actions and attitudes, the rule that once shined has grown dim.

Today, let’s re-embrace the Golden Rule. Let’s treat others the way Jesus treats us. Let’s love others. Let’s respect others. Let’s demonstrate kindness to others. Let’s give grace to others. Let’s remove the tarnish from the Golden Rule and let it shine once again.

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