In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets
This is consistently called the Golden Rule. It is a level of ethical maturity that few attain to, but it is so much deeper than that. It is a formula for how to live and have people treat you the way you would like them to treat you. What do you want people to do or give to you — respect, honor, position, authority, love, money — then give it to them is what Jesus is saying. You do the thing first that you see they need and they will turn around and meet your need.
Zig Ziglar says it this way, “You can have everything you want if you help enough other people get what they want.” I would only add at the very end, “first.”
We water down this principle until it is a nice platitude but largely useless. Jesus is speaking a very powerful principle. Do for others first what you want them to eventually give you and it will take place. You go first with the giving, the effort, the love. But if you demand that they give it to you first, you will most likely never get what it is you want.
In everything: This means that Jesus is stating a general principle that applies to every situation in which you find yourself. In fact, Jesus says this is THE principle that controls every situation. What does the other person want? What do you want in this situation? Give them what they want and you will get what you want. If you will go first, you will unleash a torrent of energy that will eventually come back to you and give you what you want.
Realize that this is a principle of life. Do for others what you want done for you. If you want to be respected, then respect the people in front of you. If you want to be listened to, then listen. If you want to receive mercy, then give mercy.
treat people the same way you want them to treat you
I have to confess that I still like the way the KJV reads: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The literal Greek is you, too, do so for them as you want done unto you. The emphasis is on you doing first what it is that you want from people. What is difficult for many to wrap their minds around is that this is not just a good idea; it is a fundamental law of the universe for the attainment of what you want. Give it to others first and then you will get it yourself.
If you want Honor, Respect, Understanding, Security, Communication — then give these things first.
What is surprising is that it is stated in the “what you want” terms. It is not stated in the “what God wants” terms. Do for others what you want, what you wish, what you will that they would do for you. You do it first and then it will come to you. You determine what it is that you want others to treat you like. Determine what it is that you want them to do for you and then you do it first for them, and it will come to you.
It would make more sense to our selfish ears to hear: take what you want from others and then give it to them if they have been good about giving what you want. But that is not the way Jesus says that the world is wired to work. Give what you want and you will get it but do not wait or do not take or it will never come.
This explains so much in life: why we didn’t get the promotion; why we didn’t get the love of the girl; why we didn’t get the promotion or the authority; why we didn’t become successful; why we did not get what we wanted out of marriage or our children. It was because we did not give it to them first.
When you want it so desperately, you are trying to figure out ways to get it from others but the secret is give it to others first before they deserve it, and then you will get it.
* This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.