“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” -The words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 7:12
“What you do not wish done to you, do not do to others.” -The Silver Rule
Please indulge me a little as I endeavor to use a portion of scripture in a manner that it was not originally intended. In doing this I promise not to misuse this scripture and am trying to be as careful as possible in using it in this manner so as not to mislead the reader.
Having given the preceding disclaimer I would like to paraphrase Peter’s words to the man who was born crippled in Acts 3:6,
“Silver I have plenty, but gold have I none; such as I have I keep for myself.”
When it comes to the two rules, the Silver Rule and the Golden Rule, I have plenty of silver to offer and very little, if any, gold to offer. It is much easier for me to be apathetic toward others than it is to involve myself actively with their physical and even spiritual well being, which is what Jesus calls us to in the Golden rule that is found in Matthew 7:12.
Many think that the two rules, silver and gold are really the same; just different ways of saying one thing. The general thought is that one expresses this same thought in a negative way and one in a positive way.
There are times when stating something in the negative is a reinforcement of the positive. We see this in John 1:3 which says of Jesus,
“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made”.
The first part of the verse is positive in stating that all things were created by Jesus and the second part of the verse says the same in the negative to reinforce the positive, when the the writer states that without Jesus nothing was made that was made. The negative in this verse reinforces and adds understanding to the positive.
But these rules, gold and silver, are diametrically opposed to each other. One, the Golden Rule, calls for action. That person that I see has need of something; the need itself is a call to action if I am to do unto others as I would want them to do unto me. The other, the silver rule can’t even be considered a call, unless it is a call to non action. There is no call to do unto others as I would want done unto me, but merely to leave people in their current state, and not to make their situation worse. In other words this is a platitude of do nothingness. It is a statement of inaction or of apathy.
The golden rule is a rule for those who are governed by love which flows from the One who gave His life and whose blood flowed from His head, His hands, His feet, and from His pierced side. The golden rule is for those who have placed their faith in the Christ who left an empty tomb and then showed Himself to over 500 people within 40 days before He ascended to the right hand of God the Father.
Only empowered by the Spirit of the risen Savior can a person remotely begin to follow the Golden Rule.
The silver rule is a rule of apathy, which by the way is the opposite of love. Apathy and love are opposites as are these two rules. The old sin nature is all that is necessary to follow the Silver Rule in its apathetic and pathetic, non-caring attitude. The unregenerate sinner can easily see another’s need and do nothing to improve the situation, but more importantly to do nothing to make the need worse in some way.
Jesus calls us to action. He calls us to
“Do unto others”.
He calls us who have been redeemed to throw out a life-line to others that He might redeem them too. Jesus calls us from apathy so that He, through us, can save those who are lost. Simply Jesus calls us from apathy to love; to
“Do unto others”.