[March 8, 2019] Leaders generally do not understand the Golden Rule we see expressed in nearly all religions, especially in Christianity and Judaism. It often read as treating others with kindness and compassion. However, that interpretation is both shallow and misleading.
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” – King James Version (KJV) Matthew 7:12 Context1
At the end of this article is the full context of this quote. Re-reading it may give a hint to why I say that leaders don’t understand the Golden Rule.
Two points: First, imagine, if you will, that everything that could possibly be right in your life is happening. You are treating yourself properly; physically, spiritually, intellectually, socially, and familially. Then put all your effort to extend that courtesy to everyone else.2 That is what the Golden Rule is about.
Second, imagine if we were to gather up all the accumulated wisdom learned since the first man walked the Earth and manifested this into codified moral law (including rules and regulations). Those leaders who are given the authority to oversee the law are inherently responsible to ensure the process for the maintenance of the moral law. This is why leadership is so keenly important and why rules must be made with this insight.
Optimize your own being first and then work to do the same for everyone around you. This idea is not only at the core of man-made law but at the level of the process that updates the law. Leaders are those that are deeply involved in this process. It is expected that they be highly moral and outwardly focused.
In my leadership blog, I’ve repeatedly noted that the best leaders are those that care for others. For without this caring, a leader has no standing for those he may lead. Any leader who does not do all in their power to make extend “good” to others is a leader without moral standing and thus has rejected the responsibility to do moral things.
Leaders believe that the Golden Rule is simply being nice and compassionate to others. This is wrong. It is treating others with the knowledge that what is good is based on moral principles and not on feelings.
- Matthew 7:12 Context: 9Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? 12Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
- Anyone who attempts to do so will discover quickly that this is exceedingly difficult a task. Psychologists are fond of saying that before we do anything to the outside world, we should get our own houses in order.