Live by the Golden Rule every day


Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

— Matthew 7:12

The first time I ever heard the Golden Rule, I was a very young kid in Sunday school. A very ornery boy was acting up, pushing all the buttons of my dear Sunday school teacher.

After politely asking the little boy to please zip his lip, Mrs. Esther Jones had put up with just about all she was going to be able to handle. “Son, have you any idea what the Golden Rule can do?” His head jerked to attention as if he were expecting the appearance of a new paddling board.

Could change the world

Mrs. Jones began by quoting the Golden Rule for us, then explained what this rule could mean in various situations. It could change the world in ways big and small. Wars would stop. Crime would come to an end. Children would be loved and fed in every corner of the world. Missionaries would be able to do good work everywhere, welcomed with open arms.

And it could even help Mrs. Jones with ornery boys. She explained, “If you are talking, wanting to explain something to me that you had put a great deal of time and thought and study in to, the Golden Rule would tell me that I should be very still and listen, because that is what I would want others to do for me when I am speaking.”

I remember walking out of that Sunday school class that morning, all of about 8 years old, and suddenly believing that I had the answer in the palm of my hand for all of the ills of the world. Mrs. Jones was the greatest Sunday school teacher of all time!

Something important to say

While sitting down to a wonderful dinner of chicken and mashed potatoes, my sisters all talked about who they had seen at church that morning. I remember interrupting one of my big sisters to say that I had something really important to say.

“I learned about this new thing called the Golden Rule, and it is amazing what it can do!” I tried to use all the words that Mrs. Jones had used so that I could properly convey the power and importance of this new great thing.

Dad smiled and said that Mrs. Jones was right, but I had misunderstood one simple part of this. It wasn’t really a new thing. The Golden Rule is scripture from the Bible, he explained to me, and has been with us for all time.

“Then why don’t we all just use the Golden Rule ALL the time?” I asked, exasperated.

“Some people do live by it all the time. The sad part is, there are others who ignore the Golden Rule even though they hope that everybody else will follow it,” my dad explained.

So mad

I was madder than an old wet hen. I stomped outside and started swinging on the old maple tree swing ’til I was high enough to touch the sky. I decided if I ever got to run the world, I would force everybody to live by the Golden Rule every single day. Just think how great it could be! I couldn’t wait to tell Mrs. Jones my plan.

That Sunday morning with Mrs. Jones happened a lifetime ago, but it is amazing how the memory is still crisp and clear. It goes without saying that there are good people who bless us with their kindness and wisdom, giving of themselves when there is little reward. I realize now, looking back on all of this, that Mrs. Jones was teaching us the Golden Rule by living it.


All these years later, I remain grateful.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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