In the world where I live, I am surrounded by many good people. They are kind, generous, faithful and live within the ways of their faith. Most are this way. But there are always people to whom aggression has made others back away. These aggressive bullies claim many things but ultimately they feel that they are allowed to do anything to get their way. They have been allowed to do this by the fear they arouse. Those of us who believe and try hard to follow the Golden Rule cannot always stand up against these aggressors on an individual basis. Those who fear the bullies will not jeopardize their own safety even when their principles are at stake, often we do not even realize that we were pushed until much later.
I feel that the Golden Rule—treating to other as you wish to be treated—is still the only principle that must be followed. Whether it is dealing when a 3 year old child who uses sign language to tell you “Thank You”, or a 99 year old Retired pastor who recites poetry from memory, I must treat them all with kindness and understanding, as I would hope to be treated myself. Even the smelly, noisy, gossiping, unappealing ones. Even the bullies.
The Bully will always win in any confrontation because they do not have a moral obligation to follow any rule, but their idea of winning is fleeting because it is based on a desire for power and greed, not for love and equality. When Mother Teresa was asked how she could deal with the overwhelming number of needy people and appalling poverty , she said “One person at a time” I try to take that very seriously, one person at a time. I do not always succeed. I sometimes fail through my own doing, sometimes I am challenged by my prejudices and preconceived ideas, and sometimes forgetting what I say and do, sometimes I am even the bully. Those who have chosen the Golden Rule have to learn that it is a lifetime commitment and not always successful. Then we try again.
The Golden Rule incorporates all religions because it is fundamental. Some of us never have to wonder if we will commit horrible sins in reality, such as murder or adultery, but we daily run into questions of rudeness, self importance, desire, and anger. It is comforting to know that each of us have a rule to fall back on which tells us right from wrong, in almost every case.
I feel confident that at the moment of judgment, and I do believe there is one, I will have to admit I have sinned in many ways, but I will also know that I have tried to temper those sins with having evaluated my behavior on a daily, hourly and minute by minute basis, upon what I now consider the most important rule of life, how I treat others. This I Believe!
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