Of gold or of iron?

We are familiar with the famous Gospel advice: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12). It has been defined as the golden rule of Christian morality, although it is present in many ethical and religious traditions, not only in the Gospel.

This golden rule is opposed by an iron rule, inexorable in its harshness: “Do unto others as you would not have them do unto you”. This is the dominant rule in business and it is accepted without question. Because in business there are no friends, only partners.

Is this obvious in economic and financial circles also true in everyday life, where things are more immediate and familiar? Yes: petty betrayal, forgetting a commitment, gossip, fake news, abuse of the weak, inhibition in the face of a need… are the order of the day in everyday behaviour. Perhaps we should add to this the loss of generosity, gratuitousness, the capacity to give and to forgive.

The capacity of a bad action to provoke an equal and opposite reaction is impressive: if they lie to me, I lie more… if they steal from me, I get even… It is precisely the reaction, and not simply the action, that feeds this evil that corrupts human relations. And there is usually no one to neutralise and block its diabolical spiral.

On the contrary, history shows the transformative power of goodness. When someone does us good, they make us better. Parents and teachers know this all too well. The way we treat our children and pupils determines, to a large extent, their reactions. This gives us a valuable key to transforming our world, because it helps people to be better. There is no more effective method than treating them with respect and love, with an emphasis on respecting them and treating them well without humiliating them: “Treat others as you want to be treated”. How differently we would live if we took this golden rule seriously! Believers know that God always applies it. He never treats us as we deserve, but as God’s beloved sons or daughters, as we really are. Because He loves us, He continually “recreates” us. This enables us to face life with meaning, not making demands on others without first having treated them as we would like to be treated ourselves.

The question we have to answer is clear: What about me, am I made of gold or iron? Let us not dissociate morality and daily life. God has united them and we human beings must not separate them.


Juan Carlos cmf

(PHOTO: user15245033)


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