June 20, 2006

Do Unto Others

I once asked a group of kids what they thought of this rule of thumb: "do unto others as they do unto you." If someone is kind to you, keep it in mind so as to be on the lookout to return their kindness. If someone treats you badly, ignore and avoid them. The kids seemed to like my practical wisdom.

In fact, this is the kind of "golden rule" that keeps the world going and helps us get things done. I remember to write a thank-you note to a brother so that I might enjoy his hospitality again. I fix another brother's broken rosary and then he helps me fix my car. I look for ways to return favors. If a brother is useless or dismissive to me, I don't bother with him.

It all sounds good right? Ordinary "networking" to make common life work, no?

No! "Do unto others as they do unto you" is actually the satanic "golden rule" as formulated by the famous Satanist Anton LaVey! More classically, it is the lex talionis, the approach of "eye for an eye, life for a life."

Jesus' challenge is to go beyond this worldy wisdom all the way to love of enemy. God gives sun and rain and all the goods of creation to both the just and the unjust. Pretty unfair, isn't it? And yet this is what we are supposed to imitate.

Sometimes we need the enemies of Christianity to remind us just how radical it is.

4 comments:

Lisa, sfo said...

An excellent reminder of the difference between the true Golden Rule and the 'fool's gold' one! Thanks for sharing. :-)

Don said...

This is great. Thank you. I put a link to this on my blog.Peace.

Anonymous said...

I was raised with the "golden rule" that stated "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"...therefore you would do kind things for others -- because that is what you'd want them to do unto yourself. This golden rule didn't depend on the goodness of others, but the goodness that was alive in me through Christ's grace. Thanks for this time of reflection.

Honora said...

Beautiful food for thought, straight out of Christ's Beatitudes. Thank you.