How Jesus’ Golden Rule can help you most.
In the post Variations on what the Golden Rule means there is a list with links to 32 variations other than the King James Version (KJV Matthew 7:12) All things whatsoever that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them. For this is the Law and the Prophets. The operative word in the KJV version which the others lack is the word should, and the reason is simple enough when you understand that Jesus was serious about helping people in their efforts to elevate themselves to their highest potential state. The other versions are softer and weaker in their notions of what is expected and demanded of the followers. They say be good to others and they will be good to you. That is kindly, but Jesus sought much more for his followers; he sought a method of elevating them into their highest possible spiritual condition – generally called Heaven, or at least the gates of Heaven. If they would help others to live their lives more abundantly they would simultaneously be developing their own consciousness to move themselves up the spiritual scale towards Heaven. By paying close attention to what other people needed to improve their lives they could see more clearly what they themselves needed, and by helping those people attain higher levels they were cultivating the habits that would elevate themselves to these higher conditions. The Beatitudes at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount outline the generalized steps that would be taken by the students of this spiritual path towards enlightenment.
How and why Jesus’ message was lost.
The original formulation that Jesus spoke may have been diluted by the various translations, and by the problem of the translators who didn’t understand what Jesus was trying to accomplish and who inadvertently dumbed it down. Also, there is the problem of stating one of the most sophisticated ideas ever conceived in a way that everyone could understand, including every uneducated and illiterate worker who spent eighty hours a week alone in a field, to create a statement they could use meaningfully in their daily lives. Be nice to people and they will be nice to you, and obey your boss. It seems naive to think that the most sophisticated philosophical principle ever conceived by the tens of billions of people who ever lived could be readily understood by the most unsophisticated child. But, that is what is generally promulgated by the authorities.
A new way of stating Jesus’ message more clearly.
To move toward a full realization of one’s spiritual potential requires more than just being nice, much more than just saying generalized socially approved pleasantries. To help someone who is advanced requires that you be nearly as advanced yourself, or you won’t understand what they need and what you need to offer them to help both of you progress. That is why Jesus begins his Golden Rule with “All men”, because the student of this teaching must not only be helping the Poor of spirit, but also all of the people on the spiritual ladder. Then the really difficult words, “should do” because these words must be applied differently to every single person, and most of all differently to those advancing up the ladder. Thus, I will do for others what they should do for me. This statement is more active than the diluted modern versions and also it requires a careful personal observation and analysis of what it is that the individual self, pronouncing these thoughts to himself, knows should be done to assist him up the ladder to being closer to heaven. When that is clear he knows how he should be treating the people he encounters.
I will do for others what they should do for me.