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  • Writer's pictureKandi Swift

The Golden Rule

To live by the 'Golden Rule' is to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them…” Matthew 7:12 (ESV)

Growing up, we were always taught to live by the ‘Golden Rule’, which is to do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? I always interpreted this to being kind and respectful to others. If you want kindness, give kindness, if you want respect, give respect. When we look at it that way, it does seem pretty simple.

I remember one time, when I was in financial need, coming out of Target to find two very large bottles of laundry detergent sitting in a shopping cart. It was the expensive detergent and the largest possible containers you could purchase. There wasn’t anyone around, just the convenience of my car parked right next to this obvious gift from heaven (lol). I have to admit I struggled with this one for a second. I mean, doesn’t the bible say God will supply all our needs? I was definitely in need and this would have gone a long way for me. However, I allowed myself to think about the person who purchased this detergent for their family and how they would feel when they got home to realize they made it to the house without it. They could possibly have spent the last of their monthly allotment on this detergent for their large family, I really don’t know. Although I wrestled with the thought of keeping it, I also remembered I was taught to do for others as I would want them to do for me. So, I pushed the cart back into the store and turned the detergent in to customer service. The clerk looked at me like I was crazy for returning it, but I knew that the person coming back to get it would be grateful.

Many years later, I had gone to my local grocery store to use the Coinstar machine to convert change into cash for our church’s outreach ministry. After I received the cash, I placed it in a bank bag and grabbed a grocery basket to pick up a few things before leaving the store. I went through self-checkout, paid for my items and home I went. While I was putting the groceries away, I realized I didn’t have the bank bag. I panicked. For one, there was a large amount of money in the bag and, for two, it didn’t belong to me. As soon as I realized what had happened, I ran right back to the store, hoping someone was honest enough to turn it in. To my relief, someone returned it and the bag was waiting for me when I got there.

I believe that not only are we to do unto others as we would want them to do unto us, but how we treat and do for others has a tendency to come back around to us. It’s the law of give and it shall be given. I also believe that we should be intentional in our doing for others. Let me explain. So, in the incident of the laundry detergent, I was faced with the decision to keep it or return it. I didn’t know the person it belonged to, but I knew I would have wanted someone to do that for me. But what about the situations in which we do know the person, or least know about them? For example, the single mother who is providing for her children on her own. If I were in that situation, and I have been, what would I desire for someone to do for me? I know that sometimes just a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread would have helped out. What if I were elderly and living alone? I would appreciate a phone call or someone stopping by, maybe even for a family member or friend to take me to dinner. I think that doing for others as we would want them to do for us, requires us to put ourselves in others’ shoes. It’s more than just a split-second decision we make when an unexpected situation presents itself, such as the laundry detergent. It’s seeking to do good for someone and making a difference. What if we were to consider some of the people in our lives and the situations they are currently in? Then, decide what we would want someone to do for us if we were in their situation and do that thing for them. The results are amazing when we treat others in the way we want to be treated. The other person is blessed and ministered to and sometimes receives the very thing they were praying for through our actions of doing for them as we would have them do for us.


“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them…” Matthew 7:12 (ESV)

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10 (ESV)

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16 (ESV)

“Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others.” Philippians 2:4 (ESV)



Lord, help me to be mindful of others and to do for them as I would want to be done for me. Show me how I can be intentional in doing for something for someone else that is specific to their situation.


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