In a world within which people do not necessarily have healthy love for themselves, the golden rule,
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”
is intrinsically flawed. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.
Suppose for instance a woman loves to tie her lover to a bed during sex. If you were her lover, she would love to do this to you. If you do not do this to her, however, then she cannot do this to you. No equilibrium in this relationship if we apply the golden rule.
Suppose a man wants to have his wife murdered so agrees to murder someone else’s wife. Well, having murdered someone else’s wife, he has earned the right under the golden rule to have someone murder his own wife. There is equilibrium under the golden rule, yet the equilibrium is totally immoral.
Redefining the golden rule to read:
Love your neighbor as yourself
does nothing to resolve highlighted flaws.
Jesus solved these problems when He commanded:
Love one another as I have loved you.
So what are the characteristics of this Love?
Kindness, Patience, Purity
Not insisting on our own way when the alternative seems better or when accepting the alternative serves to validate to the other person that we care about them and their ideas
No Bad Ego, No Rudeness, No Partiality, No Hypocrisy
No attempts at provoking others by behaving in unseemly ways
Putting out of effort to the best of our ability towards avoidance of reaction as opposed to response to provocation
Not making accusations without evidence
Desiring to act appropriately
Rejoicing in Truth no matter whom it favors.
So are the principles good? Obviously.
There is not a single person in this world that would not love to be treated as described by these characteristics of love of God. This is why the purity of character of Jesus Christ is acknowledged everywhere in the world even by people who do not believe in Him.
The only difference between someone who believes in Jesus Christ and the person who adopts highlighted principles of love is that Jesus promises to help the believer achieve highlighted principles.
I wish I could say it is possible to practice these principles 100% of the time without spiritual help from Jesus Christ. For those who choose not to believe in Jesus Christ, however, we at least can agree the principles are worth embracing if we desire better societies.
Perhaps if we struggle to practice the principles of the love of God after we embrace them, we can arrive at a realization as to why help promised by Jesus Christ is relevant and valuable. After all, if we really do not need His help to consistently 100% of the time practice highlighted principles, Jesus really is no more than a Charlatan. If He says we cannot perfect these principles without His help, but we find in fact we can, we have good reason not to believe in Him. We cannot arrive at irrelevance of Jesus Christ, however, without first attempting to succeed at highlighted principles without His help.
Personally, I have found that absent help from Jesus Christ, I could be a really messed up person in many ways. Without the calming influence of my faith in Jesus Christ for instance, I doubt I could have made it through a messy separation and divorce that has yet to be finalized. But that is just me and may not be you. The question is:
Are we willing to look into our souls with integrity after we try so we arrive at a true assessment of how we fared without Jesus’ help?
Will we seek out Jesus Christ as a potential answer and give Him a fair chance to prove His claims if our assessments reveal we failed at living up to highlighted ideals?
Some of us already are in position to provide answers to these questions.
Whether we already have the answers or have to seek out the answers, let us answer with integrity and courage.