‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’
– Mt 7:12
In 2015 Pope Francis on a visit to the United States spoke to a joint session of Congress in the US Capitol.
When speaking about the fact that, ‘Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War’ he went on to say, ‘We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ (Mt 7:12). When he quoted the Golden Rule there was a prolonged standing ovation.
They are simple words of Jesus quoted from St Matthew’s Gospel, and the Golden Rule is also seen as a moral principle which denotes that you should treat others the way you want to be treated yourself. For example, the Golden Rule suggests that if you would like people to treat you with respect, then you should make sure to treat them with respect too. It is a rule that can be used to guide our actions in a variety of situations.
In our society, and even in our Church, it is very common to be given misinformation, much of which is perpetuated through social media. We saw and heard a great deal of misinformation during the recent protests at Parliament. What do we do with that – try to correct it with the truth, or condemn and criticise those who have put the misinformation out there?
We saw and heard violent rhetoric, and there has been and still is an increase in violent and awful misogynistic comments aimed at women leaders at both the national and local level. Some of these comments could represent never-before threats to the social fabric of Aotearoa New Zealand.
We could easily say ‘That’s coming from people out there, it’s not from me!’ However, we can all play a part in helping one another to respect the human dignity of all, and maybe it all starts by living the Golden Rule.
I return to Pope Francis’ speech at the US Capitol, in which he said ‘This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves.’
“We can all play a part in helping one another to respect the human dignity of all, and maybe it all starts by living the Golden Rule – ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’”