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What is the Golden Rule?

The Bible’s answer

The term “Golden Rule” does not appear in the Bible. However, many use this term to refer to a rule of conduct that Jesus taught. In his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “All things . . . that you want men to do to you, you also must do to them.” (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31) The Golden Rule has also been expressed this way: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”—Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

 What is the meaning of the Golden Rule?

The Golden Rule encourages us to treat others as we would like to be treated. For instance, most people appreciate it when others treat them with respect, kindness, and love. Logically, then, we should “do the same way” to others.—Luke 6:31.

 Why is the Golden Rule beneficial?

The Golden Rule applies in virtually all situations. For example, it can . . .

The Golden Rule captures the spirit behind a major portion of what is commonly called the Old Testament. Jesus’ rule of conduct “is what the Law [the first five books of the Bible] and the Prophets [the prophetic books] mean.” (Matthew 7:12) In other words, the Golden Rule sums up a basic tenet of the Old Testament: love of neighbor.—Romans 13:8-10.

 Is the Golden Rule simply a matter of give-and-take?

No. The emphasis of the Golden Rule is on giving. When Jesus gave the Golden Rule, he was speaking about how to treat not only people in general but even one’s enemies. (Luke 6:27-31, 35) Thus the Golden Rule encourages people to do good to all.

 How can you apply the Golden Rule?

  1. 1. Be observant. Pay close attention to those around you. For instance, you may see someone struggling to carry groceries, hear of a neighbor who is hospitalized, or notice that a workmate is discouraged. When you “look out . . . for the interests of others,” you will likely find opportunities to say or do something helpful.—Philippians 2:4.

  2. 2. Be empathetic. Imagine yourself in the other person’s place. How would you feel if you were in the same situation? (Romans 12:15) When you try to understand the feelings of others, you may feel moved to help them.

  3. 3. Be flexible. Keep in mind that everyone is different. What others would like to have done for them may not be the same as what you would want to have done for you. So, out of the many things you could do, try to choose what they will appreciate most.—1 Corinthians 10:24.