Breaking the Golden rules

I think Jesus missed the plot when he said “Do unto others what you want them to do to you”. That or his disciples did not remember everything he said and quoted him incorrectly.

In my experience the golden rule should be “First do unto yourself what you want others to do to you”. This is in line with “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”. Which Jesus quoted from the Torah.

Recently I experience liberation from one of my illusions that showed me this truth in a new way.

In my nature I am a caring person. I find a sense of self worth when I can be of service.

A subconscious expectation that someone in return will take care of me was exposed one morning when I annualized my mind maps around the anger I felt making my wife some breakfast.

We feel anger when we perceive an injustice or unfairness. These perceptions of unfairness are either real or imagined. Mine was imagined because it rested in this false expectation that if I take care of enough people. They in turn will take care of me.

The effect of this inefficient belief system is that I have an external locus of control regarding taking care of my self. Resulting in me being overweight, unfit and drink chronic medication for all sorts of things.

Seeing this false expectation made me realize that I am responsible for taking care of myself and brought home the truth of do unto yourself what you want others to do to you.

I acknowledge that this is my process and respect that yours might be different. I share this because I belief there is a universal truth that must be spoken. The truth that you must love yourself in the same and equal manner you love other people.

Let us have a clear definition of love. In my mind love is a verb, an action. It is that what you DO for the one you love that will leave them better of.

It is a beautiful interconnected truth.

Narcissism and selfishness does not fall under love. Selfishness cuts us of from people around us and it is healthy for us to have people in our lives. Narcissism locks us up in a small world of only ourselves and in this world the psychology and maturity of a two year old rule. It is not good for you.

This truth interconnects healthy relationships with other. Relationships where boundaries are clear and porous. Clear, because we have a understanding of who we are apart from others and porous because we also understand that we are because of other people.

This beautiful (and I agree sometimes difficult) dance of being ourselves for other people can only be done harmoniously if we keep to the beat of “First do unto yourself, what you want others to do too you”. Be true to yourself, if you want others to be true to you. Love yourself first, if you want to be loved by others.

This also implies that you are clear about who you are and what you want for yourself.

Reminds me of the story of the two monks washing their bowls in the river when they noticed a scorpion that was drowning. One monk immediately scooped it up and set it upon the bank. In the process he was stung. He went back to washing his bowl and again the scorpion fell in. The monk saved the scorpion and was again stung.

The other monk asked him, “Friend, why do you continue to save the scorpion when you know its nature is to sting?”

“Because,” the monk replied, “to save it is my nature.”

So I still make my wife breakfast. Not because I expect her to do the same for me, but because it is in my nature to do so. I am therefore true to myself.

In truth



4 thoughts on “Breaking the Golden rules

  1. Dear Herman,

    Thanks for your honesty and sincerity, it is a very touching piece.

    I agree that we have to take care of ourselves first (else we will not have anything to give), and besides, no-one else will know exactly how to fulfil our dreams, desires and needs.

    When we are not true to ourselves, we are in fact lying to others. How then can we blame them if we catch them out when they distort the truth?

    The piece mentioned expectations. If each of us ensures that we are happy and peaceful with ourselves before we turn outward, we will not need anything from anybody because we will be happy anyways.

    Service to others is almost like a person taking his leftover food to the marketplace with the intention to hand it over as alms to someone in need. Upon reaching the market, he’ll receive much more free goodies from traders than what he had brought. Service is a way of connecting with others, as well as connecting with a vast reservoir of energy, peace, and everything else we need. If only we’ll take the time to look. And trust.

    Thank you once again for sharing your learning experiences with us, they are very inspiring!

  2. Ek stem nie noodwendig presies saam nie, dog Johannes die Doper het die volgende gesê: (Afr’53):
    Luke 3:11: En hy antwoord en sê vir hulle: Wie twee kledingstukke het, moet meedeel aan hom wat nie het nie; en wie voedsel het, moet dieselfde doen.
    So Johannes het nie ‘n probleem daarmee gehad as iemand wat twee kledingstukke het die eerste vir homself hou nie.

    Hier is Jesus se woorde:
    Luke 6:31: En soos julle wil hê dat die mense aan julle moet doen, so moet julle ook aan hulle doen.
    Let op die volgorde: Jesus het nie gesê ‘(1) doen aan ander (2) wat julle wil hê dat hulle aan julle doen’ nie. Jesus het nie die Golden Rule verkondig nie.
    Hy het gesê: (2) soos julle wil hê dat die mense aan julle moet doen, (1) so moet julle ook aan hulle doen.
    Let op die woordjie ‘ook’.
    So Jesus had nie ‘n probleem daarmee as jy eers weet wat dit is wat jy wil hê dat ander aan jou moet doen vir jou om te weet wat om aan ander te doen nie.
    Bv. as jy ‘n winkel het en wil hê dat die mense jou betaal vir die kruideniersware wat hulle in jou winkel koop, dan is dit reg as jy die winkelier betaal as jy in iemand anders se winkel iets koop. So wat Jesus sê is eintlik maar voor-die-hand-liggend. Hy is dieselfde regverdige God.
    Isaiah 53:11: Weens die moeitevolle lyde van sy siel sal Hy dit sien en versadig word; deur sy kennis sal my Kneg, die Regverdige, baie regverdig maak; en Hy sal hulle skuld dra.

    Interessant genoeg het Jesus nie bedoel dat Christene slaansakke is toe hy gesê het Christene moet die ander wang draai nie:
    John 18:23: Jesus antwoord hom: As Ek verkeerd gespreek het, getuig van die verkeerdheid; maar as Ek reg gespreek het, waarom slaan jy My?

    Om vir ‘n mens se vrou ontbyt te maak is nie veel anders as hoe Paulus dit beskryf het nie:
    Ephesians 5:28: So behoort die mans hulle eie vroue lief te hê soos hul eie liggame. Wie sy eie vrou liefhet, het homself lief;

    Meer as dit is ‘n onderwerp op sy eie. Wat ek wel kan sê is dat ek op ‘n stadium meer as ‘n tiende van my inkomste aan die welsynsorganisasie van my keuse gegee het en in Maart hierdie jaar honger gehad het omdat daar op daardie tydstip nie baie geld was vir vaste kos nie. Dit het my laat dink aan Job: aan die begin van die boek Job was hy sacrificial, aan die einde van die boek Job was hy obedient. Gehoorsaamheid is beter as offerande. ‘n Mens moet besluit wat hy wil hê: óf mens aanvaar die hele Ou testament en gee tiendes van alles en laat mens besny en volg die volle Joodse wet perfek, óf mens aanvaar dat die offer wat Jesus met Sy eie bloed gebring het genoeg is en word geregverdig deur geloof. Dit was vir my merkwaardig om in ‘n sekere charismatiese kerk in Bloemfontein te sit (Church of Roman Catholics – not) en te hoor hoe die pastoor die kerkgangers met die plae van Maleagi 3:8-11 (Ou Testament) dreig indien hulle sou durf waag om nie ‘n tiende van hul salaris aan die betrokke kerk te oorhandig nie. Meer as dit is gespesialiseerd, maar dit kom op dieselfde neer, die Golden Rule word verkondig (gee ‘n tiende van jou geld vir die pastoor sodat hy by die see kan gaan vakansie hou, dan sal God magically jou geld vermeerder sodat jy ook kan doen wat jy wil), terwyl dit wat Jesus gesê het nie die Golden Rule is nie. As jy honger is dan sou jy dit waardeer as iemand vir jou iets sou gee om te eet, by Fountainhead het Witpiet soms vir my ‘n hamburger of iets gekoop in die tyd toe ek swaar gekry het (ek weet nie of hy weet hoe swaar dit op daardie stadium met my gegaan het nie) en ek het dit baie waardeer, nie soseer om my honger te stil nie, maar omdat dit vir my gevoel het of iemand vir my omgegee het in ‘n tyd toe ek swaargekry het. As iemand wil gaan vakansie hou by die see dan kan hy maar vir homself geld spaar, hy hoef my nie te dreig met die plae in die Ou Testament vir sy vakansieoordverblyf aan die kus nie en as hy vir my wil Golden Rule verkondig dan is hy welkom om vir my te betaal vir ‘n vakansie by die see. Die koninkryk van God is nie vir rampokkers nie, maar vir hulle wat hul naaste liefhet soos hulself. Genoeg eers, Groete – Dirk Smit.

  3. “Relationships where boundaries are clear and porous. Clear, because we have a understanding of who we are apart from others and porous because we also understand that we are because of other people.”

    I love this Herman – I believe, in relationship, we should ‘become’ who we are.

    I can see you are ‘becoming’ as you’ve become. 😉

  4. I just love the concept of “Paying it forward”, and want to throw that and my two cents into this discussion…

    Unconditional love vs. (or maybe AND instead of versus) ‘because I did this, I inherently expect that” vs, (or AND) I am doing this because I believe it is the right thing to do in order to exponentially maximize the outcome…. to create the butterfly effect… (doing it to others because you did it for me– paying it forward..)

    Action because it is the ‘right thing to do’, because I experienced it from you, and after time..because it is written in my heart: and it is done without any expectation and any direct reward. And then the belief that it will have a ripple effect on the bigger scheme of things. Because you will do it for others…

    Ai, ai what a challenge this is initially! But imagine the impact we could have if only 20% of us could get this right 20% of the time?

    Herman, I am sure you are becoming a breakfast guru!

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