The Golden Rule

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” - Matthew 5:7

People get back in this world just about what they give. If we think the world is hard with us, the probability is that the hardness is in ourselves, and that it is the echo of our own speeches that we hear, the rebound of our own smitings that we feel, the reflection of our own ugliness of disposition and temper that we see, the harvest of our own sowing that we gather into our bosoms. If we are untrue to any one, it is quite likely that some day somebody will be untrue to us. If we are unjust to another, there is little doubt that some time some one will deal unjustly with us.

On the other hand, if the world seems to us full of love, it is quite likely that we give the world little but love. People generally treat us as we treat them. The generous man finds people generous. The sympathetic man finds sympathy. The merciful man obtains mercy. The selfish man always thinks this world very selfish.

Hence the Golden Rule rests on a deep principle in life. “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” What we do to others they will do to us. That is the principle. If we want mercy, we must be merciful; if we expect sympathy and help, we must give both sympathy and help. ‘We have only to change places with people and then ask them how we would want them to do to us. As a rule people do not give warmth for coldness, courtesy for rudeness, kindness for unkindness.

The principle applies even to the divine treatment of us. In God’s judgment we receive according to our deeds. He who obtains forgiveness is he who forgives others. He who finds mercy is he who shows mercy to others. He whom Christ will confess before His Father is he who here before men confesses Christ. So for eternity we shall reap what we have sowed, and gather what we have scattered.