The Golden Rule Goes Platinum
We’re all familiar with The Golden Rule growing up, right? Whether you grew up in the church or heard it taught by your favorite school teacher, The Golden Rule, based on Matthew 7:12, instructs us to:
Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.
This verse goes on to say that this mindset is the very essence of what the law and the prophets were trying to teach us.
What I find interesting about The Golden Rule is – it requires some forethought on our part before we actually get to the doing. There’s an invisible questionnaire that our minds complete as we adhere to this play call. “How do I want people to treat me?” We must look inward and take inventory of the desired way we want to be treated. Then, treat others in the same manner.
I’d like to offer that there’s another rule that’s kin to The Golden Rule; I call it The Platinum Rule of Reciprocity. Basically, The Platinum Rule says,
“Give back the good given to you.”
Comparing The Golden and Platinum Rules
What’s the difference between The Platinum Rule (TPR) and The Golden Rule (TGR)? How are they similar? And, why is the Platinum Rule so important? Well, TPR differs from TGR in that:
TPR Replaces Forethought with Acknowledgement
TPR gives us the answers to the test – if we’d only acknowledge them. When we receive kind, favorable treatment from others, without demand or an ask, we’ve been given on a “platinum” platter the answer to how to treat that person. No pre-work, self-insight, or foreknowledge needed. We only need to follow the good example of love and grace we’ve been shown.
With TPR, Others Go First
TGR tells us to “do first” – be the doer or giver of good to others in the way you’d want them to do good to you. With TPR, you are first the recipient of grace, kindness, or favor. Whether deserved or not, favor knocked on your door – TPR is our call to respond to the good you’ve received.
The Platinum Rule is similar to The Golden Rule in that:
TPR Reveals Our Responsibility to Do Good
Pick a rule, either rule – doing good rules! Whether we’re taking inventory of our actions with others, or responding to the actions of others, our intent and focus are always to show love and kindness to all.
TPR in action – why does this matter?
Have you ever done a kind gesture to someone and expected the same in return – but came up short? Have you ever received the favor or graciousness of someone, but didn’t return the favor? Or, have you ever reminded someone of a good deed you did for them, and they responded with less grace or with, “But, I didn’t ask you to do that.”
In certain areas of life – we have terrific memories, right? We remember the kindness, grace, and sacrifice we’ve given others. And, our nature is to want what we give, receive what we’ve earned. It’s always a great feeling to show someone goodness and grace and receive the same back when you need it. But not only that, it’s honorable and a great sign of mutual respect to give back kindness and grace to others.
The Biblical Basis for Positive Reciprocity
Ok, putting aside my made-up TPR, there is a biblical basis for positive reciprocity. The Word of God encourages and requires us to give back the good we’ve received in:
To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).
Be not deceived, Teammates. When you’ve been given much – opportunities you didn’t qualify for, second chances you didn’t earn, mercy where judgment lurked – how much more do you think will be rightfully required of you? With much grace and kindness comes the full-blown responsibility to give it back and pay it forward. Doing good is like a seed that keeps on giving!
Give and it shall be given to you (Luke 6:37-38).
We live by the principles of what you give you will receive – and this doesn’t just apply to negative things like judgment, gossip, lies, etc. If you give forgiveness, you will receive forgiveness. If you show grace and mercy, you will receive grace and mercy. Let no one tell you that something is wrong with you for expecting the good you have given in return. When we sow good, it’s appropriate to expect a harvest of good in return (Galatians 6:7).
Repay no one evil for evil (Romans 12:17:18).
The converse of this scripture is also true – repay everyone good for good. Let’s not leave the good others do for us hanging out there high and dry. In the spirit of “it’s better to give than receive”, give it back! Willingly and sacrificially return kindness and favors.
So, What’s the Play Call?
No right-thinking person signs up to be taken for granted – everyone wants to be remembered, even Jesus did (Luke 22:19)! Protect the mutual respect and honor of your relationships by returning the love, grace, and kindness you’ve been given.
It takes nothing away from us to treat people with the same care and dignity they show us. The sooner we master The Golden Rule and The Platinum Rule, we’ll be in a better position to follow The Titanium Rule… doing good to those who hurt, mistreat, and use us (Luke 6:28). Yes, doing good and showing love to all never stops… who’s ready for the next level?