“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” Luke 6:31
When she showed up with color swatches and fabric samples I knew that she was loving me the way she would want to be loved. I didn’t really know her much at all, my first husband was her pastor. She had shown up to decorate my children’s rooms after the death of their father. Something to cheer them up and help them feel better about staying in the home where their dad had a stroke. It was a kind, generous and loving act. She knew the “Golden Rule” and lived it out. But like me at that time she hadn’t probably heard of the Platinum Rule or even had it’s concept on her radar.
The Golden Rule is to treat others as you want to be treated. Jesus calls his disciples to love their enemies, to give even to those who don’t seem to deserve, to practice love and generosity.
This week at our pastors study of Luke 6:27-38 one of the pastors referred to The Platinum Rule. The Platinum Rule understands and accommodates for the fact that not everyone wants to be treated the same way. It says that we should treat people how they want to be treated, regardless of how we might personally want to be treated in similar situations.
The Platinum Rule was explained to be me as a more empathetic, sensitive and moral guideline in that it meets the other person where they are in their wishes and preferences of how they desire to be treated. The Platinum rule invites us to be in relationship with one another- to know and be known. All those years ago this kind woman didn’t know that we struggled financially to make ends meet and I felt uncomfortable with how much money was spent to decorate their rooms. That didn’t stop it from being a kind and generous gift.
At that same time that my children’s rooms were being repainted and decorated, a couple of friends who knew me offered to come by each week and help clean my home. They knew me. They had known my husband Steve. They knew it was him who was the housecleaner. They didn’t judge me or my home. Each week when they showed up time to help clean they also spent talking with me about my grief and sorrow. They knew that money was tight and they often brought some groceries or a coffee for me. Over time we spent more time chatting and less time cleaning and they helped me sort through how to generate income and find work that made sense for me as a single parent who was balancing her grief and that of her children.
The Platinum Rule invites us to be in relationship with the other person. We ask them how they want to be treated not assuming they want what we want. I don’t think it’s an either/or between the Golden Rule and the Platinum Rule. It is a both/and that Jesus is inviting us into - to give what we have, what we would want given to us and to be in relationship and give to others what they would have us give to them.
This giving to others what they want isn’t an enabling, co-dependency- do for anyone whatever they demand. It is the Greatest Commandment- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength and love your neighbor as yourself and to also know your neighbor.
My heart broke again upon hearing of another shooting. Less than 2 miles from the church last Sunday morning a dispute between two neighbors over a parking place in front of their homes resulted in a death. The lives of both their families forever changed- the hatred, rage, anger that are exacerbated by texts, social media and disregard for the humanity of one another are continuing to tear us apart.
The “Neighbor Love” Jesus commands of us (remember He gave it as a commandment not a suggestion) isn’t rooted in our agreeing with, liking, sharing the same values/interests/religion etc with one another- it is rooted in the Love of Christ which we have had poured into us. We then let it flow as the response to all with whom we come into contact, with all of humanity. A tall order? Indeed! Impossible- yes- when done from our own well of love. It must come from the well of living water- the love of God given to us in Jesus. We get to practice and fail and be forgiven and practice more and encourage one another in this ongoing practice. Along the way we get to keep learning and working to love, serve and grow. Will we ever get it perfectly? Not on this side of heaven and we are called together to keep working on it.
That song “They will know we are Christians by our love” has been going through my mind this week. In Luke 6 Jesus also reminds us not to judge. There are surely many parts of the story of the two neighbors in dispute so it is not my place to judge and from this event we can use it as encouragement to learn and consider how the Platinum Rule and being in relationship- knowing one another can be steps for us in living out the agape love which we have received.
For many years I have thought about how helpful it has been to ask those in my life what is their “love language” of the 5 love Languages- which is why for me “an act of service” love language person - it meant so much to have those friends help clean my home. Click here if you want to find out more about the 5 love languages.
Beloved in Christ let us keep on the journey of living out both the Golden and the Platinum rules as we let the infinite love of Christ flow in and through us.