Do Unto Others...

Hi Everyone,
I have a serious question about the Golden Rule. As it is something that our Lord personally said, I do my best to follow it.
But here is the question: Is this quote from our Lord something that can't really be applied when we are dealing with the opposite gender?
On a personal basis, I'm finding that it hasn't work out too well for me when it comes to relationships. I've heard it said that women are a different species, but can we honestly put an * to what our Lord says and create our own subset of rules?
I'm not looking for any gender quarrels or wars and I hope it doesn't descend into one. I honestly want to understand this because I'm really worn out. And I am hoping for christian ideas, not what some secular psychologist or columnist tells the world. Thanks!
Can you describe how you're applying it and how it hasn't worked for you in relationships? I'm having a hard time seeing how the principle would be affected by gender.
Hmm...I guess it doesn't work well for me because I'm given the impression I don't do enough for the other party even though I don't expect or want something similar to be done for me.

For example in one incident, I got yelled at by a lady for not giving enough compliments to her.
If I applied the Golden Rule, I didn't flatter her because I didn't want to be flattered. If I praised her just because, then I would feel a bit like a fake. But perhaps some women really want that.
That said, a bit more background...she didn't apply the golden rule to herself either so she didn't compliment me, but told me I had better think of a good compliment for her or <threat>.

I can see people thinking I'm terrible. But I treated her the way I would like to be treated.
I picked her up, brought her gifts, paid for dinner, made her laugh and helped her enjoy herself the whole evening through. I took pictures of her and told her she looked good in them. But I guess I still failed cos she wanted more than that and in her eyes, I was too insensitive or stupid. Whereas in my mind, I'm just not the type to flatter unnecessarily.
But yeah, I'm troubled because apparently treating others the way I want to be treated is just not a good enough standard anymore. Do we make exceptions then or do we hold firm to our values?
If I applied the Golden Rule, I didn't flatter her because I didn't want to be flattered.

I think you what you are applying is the “Silver rule” or the in the negative/ prohibitive form....there is difference between the Golden rule and the Silver rule.

“Do unto others” Active
“Do not do unto others” Passive

It is interesting to note that the Silver Rule is found in most ancient religions…

While the Golden Rule is the one promoted in Christianity:
"Jesus' teaching, however, goes beyond the negative formulation of not doing what one would not like done to themselves, to the positive formulation of actively doing good to another that, if the situations were reversed, one would desire that the other would do for them. This formulation, as indicated in the parable of the Good Samaritan, emphasizes the needs for positive action that brings benefit to another, not simply restraining oneself from negative activities that hurt another "
I understand what you are saying. But in your underlined definition, it says restraining from activities that hurt another. I guess it comes down to whether we consider flattering someone to be good or bad? Cos I don't think it's a good thing, and so I didn't do it. But she wanted it, real or not...which meant she wanted me to do something that I considered to be a negative activity.
So is that the Bronze Rule? Do unto others what they want you to do to them.

As already mentioned, in that particular situation, I was doing the Golden Rule the best I knew how in the sense that I treated her what I wished others would do for me. But it wasn't good enough. Therein lies my problem.


Account Closed
Aha has pretty well covered the meat of the matter. I would just like to add
that God would like us to be as wise as possible when dealing with others and sometimes
you need to think of the needs of others rather than trying to obey some rule.

Whether you wish to be flattered or not doesn't have any bearing on the situation,
many people do have a very deep need for praise. The question is whether you wish to have
a relationship with someone who is that needy.

Give unto others what they need, accept from others what they are able to give.
Thanks. Your thoughts are good and in line of much I heard from some of my friends.
But from your post then, would you say that you believe the Golden Rule is inadequate? For me, it's not really just some rule. If it was a legalistic issue, then I wouldn't really care all that much. But it's a way of life, a set of values that Christ taught. And I appreciate you taking the time to respond as it is important to me how other believers think about this.

It's true that she needed praise and compliments to feel secure and I didn't. So the thought of flattery just to make someone happy didn't even occur to me. Again, call me stupid I guess.
In the end I could compromise and just praise people even when I don't feel like it. I mean then it becomes a game to please the other person to keep the relationship going, even if I had to more or less behave in a fake manner. It's troubling to me to do that, but I can do it.

As for having a relationship with needy person...I can't say at this point. For me at this point in my life, it's a balance between compromising because nobody is perfect, and trying to live a life that Christ would be pleased with.
....would you say that you believe the Golden Rule is inadequate?

It isn't inadequate, it's a base minimum, if you will, to be built upon. Meet a stranger: treat them like you want to be treated. Stranger becomes acquaintance: then charity (the act of giving) needs to be practiced. Acquaintance becomes friend, then agape love moves into focus. When friend becomes betrothed/boy-girlfriend/spouse, then of course, unselfish love needs room to develop. Unselfish love thinks only of the other person's needs individually, not in relation to your own.

For example:

I meet you on the street. Not knowing you from Adam, Jr., I will treat you with the kindness I expect from a stranger. (Whether or not the stranger treats with kindness in return, that is a tangent.)

If you and I went to church together and I knew you as part of the group only, charity (in Christ) would be given from me to you, with allowances made on account of the love God has put in us to give, perhaps even on His behalf. (Again, whether or not the acquaintance returns with like-kind charity, is not an issue, only an observation to be made, if anything.)

Say then, you and my husband become really good friends inside of that church group, then I/we have the opportunity to love you more in an agape way, of course, more like Christian brothers and sisters.

And ultimately, when you meet that person to whom you will be betrothed or one you are actively dating, your love must become unselfish - thinking nothing of your needs or expectations when you give it. Oftentimes this occurs naturally, sometimes we are dogmatic about keeping score, so the exchange of unselfish love is blocked.

Eph. 5:22-33 tells us that Christ calls a husband to love his wife like Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her; and the wife is to submit to her husband as to the Lord. John 3:16 tells us that He gave His life because He didn't want any to perish and He knew how much we needed the gift of eternal life. That is the key: we give what we know they need; not what we want in return.

Just my thoughts. :)
Thank you CbG,
You spoke like a loving and sweet person. I don't disagree with your progression of friendship/love.
But if you have to add stuff to 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you' because it's the bare minimum, then it also means that it's inadequate in itself right?

As I looked through your examples, and I agree with them...I also see a pattern emerging.
At every level, as you grow in love and friendship with the person, you still applied 'treating them as you would have them treat you' to it. It's just that your own expectations of what a relationship with your spouse or close friend entails raised the standard. Would you then say that if you remembered your husband's b'day, valentines, christmas, etc and he neglected yours every year that you wouldn't care? Cos your needs don't matter and you give selflessly out of love? Or perhaps if the friend you kept inviting over for dinner never reciprocated, and it wouldn't matter?
This is not a personal attack or an attack in any way I hope you understand. I'm trying to understand where my own personal boundaries should be and I'm sorta comparing.

I'll be honest. I think the Golden Rule can be applied in just about every situation in a favorable manner as long as we're mentally prepared that most people out there won't reciprocate it.
But in relation to my question. I'm just frustrated cos I use it to gauge if I am doing right to someone. If indeed it is just the basics, as you said, then it opens up a whole new can of worms for me to deal with. I'll be constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure that I didn't do something wrong or neglect something inadvertently and that is pretty stressful.
Thank you for your kind words. I am a softie, I guess;)

The "Golden Rule" is far from inadequate, my friend. Indeed it is the cornerstone of the foundation of love. See how it held the weight of building upon it? At His very basic core, God is love. (at least this is what I believe) He first loved us unconditionally and wants what from us? Yes; unconditional love. So how does He teach us to love this way? By laying the foundation of "treat (love) others as you would be treated (loved)." It was never meant to be a gauge. Consider it a word-picture, if you will, instead of a gauge. Your gauge, on the other hand, should be the degree of success of the interaction. I know I am speaking in broad terms.

I know how I would like to be treated so I attempt to begin every interaction with this base in mind. Obviously I am more of a "touchy-freely" type person so what I do is try to first listen and observe, then read people's response to my interaction with them. Perhaps that is too specific. :)

Have you read Gary Chapman's book entitled "The Five Love Languages" ? I highly recommend it, if you have not. I think it gives a good breakdown that I can't here. My hubby and I read through that book with our Sunday School class and it really helped us to understand each other's expectations.

I would also cut yourself some slack. :) When the Lord brings that special person in your path, it is not hard at all to "click" and enjoy a fulfilling relationship.

God's blessings to you!!
Let me throw in something here. I see the Golden Rule as a unilateral course of action. It's what you do based on what you understand to be right, kind, and loving. If someone doesn't respond to it in appreciation, it may mean you should have done differently, but it is also quite possible that the other person is responding out of their own selfishness or immaturity, and that you did the right thing. Relationships can be so complicated. :rolleyes: So, you have to try to discern whether her desire for compliments is an unreasonable demand, or reflective of a genuine emotional need. You then respond accordingly. It certainly isn't helpful to feed someone's unreasonable demands - doesn't do either of you any good. If she has a genuine emotional need, you may try extra hard to find ways to give genuine, truthful compliments. Or you may realize that you simply cannot give her what she wants and may decide that a romantic relationship with her just isn't going to work out. That decision does not violate the Golden Rule.
Thanks Rumely and CbG again, I really appreciate your takes on this. And also your extremely diplomatic ways of putting things...hahaha.
I think sometimes when things feel so wrong inside, it's probably not meant to be. This thread was started mostly as a cry of frustration from me because the blueprint I have used for my life sometimes left me feeling hollow.
But that's why we have Christ right? As I have experienced as these things while growing older, I've come to realize that humans just aren't capable of fulfilling each other. Only our Lord Jesus can complete us and cover our insecurities.
So thanks everyone for really trying to help. It is helpful to talk things out with other believers. I'll consider modifying my gauge to be 'Do unto others what you would have them do unto you' and if I feel charitable, and it's a reasonable thing, do a bit more than that.
Gonna pray about that! :D
But that's why we have Christ right? As I have experienced as these things while growing older, I've come to realize that humans just aren't capable of fulfilling each other. Only our Lord Jesus can complete us and cover our insecurities.

Gonna pray about that! :D

AMEN, brother! You're on the right track; keep praying!