One of the practices I believe is foundational to our faith is checking in on a regular basis to ask ourselves the question, “Am I treating others the way I want to be treated?” Today, I want to look at truth, honesty and integrity as it relates to the Golden Rule and I think there are three important things we need to consider.
#1 STEP OUT OF FEAR
Most of the time when you’re tempted to bend the facts and twist the truth and you’re looking for a loophole it’s because you’re afraid. Maybe you’re afraid you won’t get what you want, afraid your self-esteem may take a hit or afraid of getting hurt. Whatever the reason, telling a little white lie usually stems from a place of fear. We saw a terrible example of this play out with athlete, Lance Armstrong several years ago when he was accused of using performance enhancing drugs. He began bullying the people who were speaking up, even though he knew they were telling the truth about him. The situation got worse and worse and worse because he was so scared. It can happen so easily when you become afraid, you start looking for loopholes and start bending the facts, twisting the truth and it just gets out of hand. Countless relationships have been destroyed as a result of this common trap that we humans fall into!
#2 EMPRACE YOUR BEST SELF
When you embrace your best self you can step past the fear. It helps you to be who you are and to live fully. But how do we embrace our best self? Here’s an exercise for you to try:
Stop to remember and even write down the times you have lived the way you really feel like God called you to live. Make a list. Remember the times you were compassionate, the times you blessed someone, the times you were generous, and then make a list of your characteristics or qualities that you believe God has given you to bless life. Once you have that list in front of you, know that you are looking at a picture or description of your best self!
Jesus said the greatest commandment, you need to love the Lord your God with your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Now we always think about loving God and loving our neighbor; so often what we skip over is loving our self. It is just as important. If you’re going to love God and you’re going to love your neighbor, you have to be able to embrace yourself, to love yourself, and part of doing that is to connect with your best self.
#3 WHEN COMPASSION FLOWS
Third, when you and I decide to embrace our best self, I believe compassion starts to flow from us to others around us. I really do believe we are created as compassionate creatures, people who want to bless life, who want to help others. It happens because that’s how we are made by our Creator. It’s an amazing feeling to experience the intrinsic reward you receive when you live this out. It’s a feeling that can only come from God. When you reflect on the question, “Am I treating others the way that I would want to be treated” it makes you feel good about who you are and brings a joy to your own soul that drives you to share that compassion with others.