The Golden Rule, treating everyone as you would like to be treated, is the epitome of agape love and agape love fulfills the law.
Romans 13:10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
There are two main Greek words that both get translated as “love” in English. If you’d like to learn more about the third Greek word, see Gods-Word-First.org’s The Four Types of Love: Unconditional, Friends, Romantic and Family.
The 2 main words used are agape and phileo. Phileo love is the kind of love you’d have for your family and friends. It’s referring to the types of people who you like to spend time with. The Greek word philadelphia combines phileo with adelphos (brother), to make a word that means brotherly love. This is why the city of Philadelphia is known as the city of brotherly love.
The word phileo is used in the bible to describe how the world loves it’s own.
John 15:19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
The “world” only loves people who they would want to spend time with, otherwise they hate the others. However, we’re told to love even our “enemies.” We don’t want to spend time with our enemies, but we were commanded to agape love them.
Matthew 5:43 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.’ 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the tax collectors the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the tax collectors so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that everyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Jesus’ (Yehoshua’s) fate was very difficult, but he did it anyway. God sent him anyway. We know it’s difficult to love our enemies, but we do it anyway. Agape love is about sacrificing our own desires to help others.
From Yes Magazine’s The Ancient Greeks’ 6 Words for Love “The fourth love, and perhaps the most radical, was agape or selfless love. This was a love that you extended to all people, whether family members or distant strangers. Agape was later translated into Latin as caritas, which is the origin of our word ‘charity.’ C.S. Lewis referred to it as ‘gift love,’ the highest form of Christian love. But it also appears in other religious traditions, such as the idea of mettā or ‘universal loving kindness’ in Theravāda Buddhism.”
It’s interesting that agape love gets translated as “charity” in the KJV bible. It is charitable, but it is a love that is charitable, not just about charity. As you can see in verse 3 below, the writer is saying that even though someone is charitable, and gives away all their goods, if they’re not doing it out of agape love, then it is profiting them nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not agape love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not agape love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not agape love, it profits me nothing. 4 Agape love is patient, agape love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Because the word for agape love is translated as “charity” in that verse, it actually makes no sense. It’s like saying that while you’re being charitable, if you don’t have charity it’s not worthwhile. There is an obvious distinction here, so the word agape cannot just mean charity. It’s about sacrificing yourself out of love for others. But what the writer is saying is that if you sacrifice (such as giving away things to the needy) for your own personal reasons (to feel better about yourself perhaps?), then you don’t have love for others, you have love for yourself.
Matthew 6:5 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
There are plenty of people who are hypocritical and try to make a show of how much they donate to those in need, but if they’re doing that charity work to make themselves look good, rather than out of love for the people they’re helping, it’s not profiting them any. So, agape love can be charitable, but at its heart, it’s about loving others more than our own selfish desires.
Proverbs 25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. 22 For in so doing, you will heap burning coals on his head, and YHWH will reward you.
We’re supposed to be in the image (or form) of God, showing what He looks like to the world. He sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous, so too should be grant mercy to those who are kind or mean to us. Those who are mean, went through a lot in their life to get to the point of being that mean. People are often bullied into being bullies, abused into being abusers, etc.
Because emotions are contagious, being mean can spread like a disease. People have often heard it said that smiling is contagious but so is anger. The only way to become immune to the bad vibe disease is to forgive. If someone had a bad day at home, took it to work with them, they can be spreading that bad mood to everyone they meet, and then they see you. If they get on your nerves, and you let them, you can have a bad day and spread it to others, but if you forgive them, and understand that there was a reason they were in a bad mood, and pray their day gets better, your day will get better too, because you are not going to become infected with their bad mood. You’ll be spreading forgiveness instead, which then prompts others to mirror that forgiveness back to you.
The Golden Rule
What goes around comes around. We we sow, we will reap. As Florence Scovel Shinn says there is grace for those who repent. But if we’re unrepentant, we will be affected by our attitudes and actions. If we judge others, we will be judged.
Matthew 7:1 Do not judge, or you will be judged. 2 For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then you shall see clearly to cast out the speck out of your brother’s eye.
What you do to others, affects you. If you’re holding a grudge against “your enemy” and won’t forgive them, then you will not be forgiven.
Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours.
Slaves to Grudges
If you got offended, triggered, or are constantly upset at the president, government officials, pharmaceutical pushers, pedophiles, rapists, murderers, bullies, etc. and you don’t forgive them, you’re never going to find peace. According to the Essene Mirrors & Lake of Fire theory, if you’re constantly offended, then you’re always going to run into people who make you upset because you are here to learn, and to get over your grudges. You are here to learn to master your emotions. Moreover, by letting them continually upset you, you’re basically choosing for them to be the master of your fate.
If you are merciful and forgiving, when this person (who would normally get on your nerves) does something that would have upset you, you won’t care. This becomes much easier with time. After a while of loving your “enemies,” and praying for them, you will see that whatever they do doesn’t affect you and doesn’t ruin your day anymore, and you will see how you are free from being their slave.
If you are not merciful, and continue in your unforgiveness, if they do something that upsets you, you let them ruin your day. You’ve given them the power to actually ruin your mood, and make you have a bad day. And don’t forget, emotions are contagious, and if you have a bad day, your family and friends might have a bad day because you’re passing that on to them like a sickness.
You have freedom in forgiving. In the following video I discuss how forgiving others is like breaking the chain that lets them yank you around. Others can’t control you if you forgive them, but if you don’t forgive them because you want to keep your grudge they will always be able to “yank your chain” or “push your buttons,” which means you’ll always be their slave.
In order to forgive, try to put yourself in their position and understand that they’ve been molded and manipulated, and probably abused in some way to get to the point that they’re doing something upsetting. Try to think about what may have happened to them to get them to this point. Pray for them to receive help. The more you do this, the more you’ll want them to actually get help, and it will change your perspective and you’ll no longer be a slave to what they do or don’t do.
When you forgive others, you are receiving forgiveness. When you are merciful to others you’re being merciful to yourself. What goes around, comes around. What you do for others affects you.
The Golden Rule is Not Just For Christians
The idea of treating others as you would want to be treated (which is the fulfillment of the law) is found in most religions.
- Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12
- For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Romans 13:9
- “…be of one mind in many bodies; let each man be minded to do to his neighbor those good things he wishes for himself. And you may all find out what is good, by holding some such conversation as the following with yourselves: You would not like to be murdered; do not murder another man: you would not like your wife to be seduced by another; do not you commit adultery: you would not like any of your things to be stolen from you; steal nothing from another. And so understanding by yourselves what is reasonable, and doing it, you will become dear to God, and will obtain healing; otherwise in the life, which now is, your bodies will be tormented, and in that which is to come your souls will be punished.” Clementine Homilies Book 7, Chapter IV. The Golden Rule
- “And what you hate, do not do to any one.” Tobit 4:15
- Judaism: Jesus (Yehoshua) was a Jewish prophet, and didn’t get his doctrine from nowhere, it was originally from the Hebrew scriptures –
- Islam: Muslims believe in most of the OT and they believe Jesus (Yehoshua) was a prophet, so the above verses may apply here depending on who you talk to. In addition to that from Wikipedia –
- “Fakir al-Din al-Razi and several other Qur’anic commentators have pointed out that Qur’an 83:1-6 is an implicit statement of the Golden Rule, which is explicitly stated in the tradition, “Pay, Oh Children of Adam, as you would love to be paid, and be just as you would love to have justice!”
- “A Bedouin came to the prophet, grabbed the stirrup of his camel and said: O the messenger of God! Teach me something to go to heaven with it. Prophet said: “As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don’t do to them. Now let the stirrup go!” [This maxim is enough for you; go and act in accordance with it!]” — Kitab al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 146
- “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” — An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith 13 (p. 56)
- “Seek for mankind that of which you are desirous for yourself, that you may be a believer.” — Sukhanan-i-Muhammad (Teheran, 1938)
- “That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind.” Hadith
- “The most righteous person is the one who consents for other people what he consents for himself, and who dislikes for them what he dislikes for himself.”
- See “Golden rule in Islam to love for humanity what you love for yourself” for more information
- Brahmanism: This is the sum of duty: Do naught to others which would cause you pain if done to you. Mahabharata 5:1517
- Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you would find hurtful.: Udana Varga 5:18
- Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not to others that you would not have them do to you.: Analects 15, 23
- Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you” Doctrine of the Mean
- “Tse-kung asked, ‘Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?’ Confucius replied, ‘It is the word ‘shu’ — reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.'” Doctrine of the Mean 13.3
- “Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence.” Mencius VII.A.4
- “There are four things in the moral life of man, not one of which I have been able to carry out in my life. To serve my father as I would expect my son to serve me: that I have not been able to do. To serve my sovereign as I would expect a minister under me to serve me: that I have not been able to do. To act towards my elder brother, as I would expect my younger brother to act towards me: that I have not been able to do. To be the first to behave toward friends as I would expect them to behave towards me: that I have not been able to do.” (source)
- Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.: T’ai Shag Kan Ying P’ien
- “To those who are good to me, I am good; to those who are not good to me, I am also good. Thus all get to be good.” Lao Tzu
- “The sage has no interest of his own, but takes the interests of the people as his own. He is kind to the kind; he is also kind to the unkind: for Virtue is kind. He is faithful to the faithful; he is also faithful to the unfaithful: for Virtue is faithful.” Tao Teh Ching, Chapter 49.
- Bahá’í Faith:
- Ancient Egyptian: “Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do.” The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, 109 – 110 Translated by R.B. Parkinson
- The religion of the Incas: “Do not to another what you would not yourself experience.” Manco Capoc, founder of the empire of Peru.
- Native American Spirituality:
- Roman Pagan Religion: Religio Romana is a modern-day Neo-pagan religion based on the religion of ancient Rome:
- “The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves.”
- Satanism: Unlike the names of other religions, the term “Satanism” has many meanings. Some refer to groups that are non-existent. The Satanic Temple has elements of the Golden Rule divided among three of its Seven Tenets:
- #1. “Strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.”
- #4. “The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.”
- #7. “Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.”
- Sufism: the inner mystical dimension of Islam:
- “The basis of Sufism is consideration of the hearts and feelings of others. If you haven’t the will to gladden someone’s heart, then at least beware lest you hurt someone’s heart, for on our path, no sin exists but this.” Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order.
- Wicca: A modern Neo-pagan religion derived largely from Celtic sources. Their Wiccan Rede states:
- “An it harm no one, do what thou wilt” (i.e. do what ever you will, as long as it harms nobody, including yourself). This is called the Wiccan Rede
- “20: Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you.” This is one of the 21 moral precepts that form the moral code explained in L. Ron Hubbard’s booklet “The Way to Happiness.”
- “One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.”
Treat Others As You Would Want to Be Treated
If everyone took this advice and lived their life according to the Golden Rule, we would be able to live in harmony. This is the fulfillment of the law. Our Father found a way to reach everyone, and show them the way to eternal life and happiness. You can check out the article on the Lake of Fire for more information on why if we live according to the Golden Rule we will see God.Follow or Contact Links