What if we make 2021 the Year of the Golden Rule? The recent events in Washington D.C. and around our nation begs the question, doesn’t it? Sunday schools taught it; politicians have quoted it; parents repeated it. The words have hung in public spaces — a kind of pluralistic and even secular creed — Do Unto Others. It’s clear and plain in Luke 6:31: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” or as The Message (Eugene Peterson) translates it: “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior- Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!” What if we all just simply tried living by the Golden Rule again?
If we have trouble trying to live it out ourselves, maybe we could think of someone who exemplified and lived out this ancient code of conduct and try to follow their example. It might be a parent, a colleague, a friend, a teacher, a pastor, a neighbor, a fellow church member or even a boss. Somewhere in your life’s journey there's been a person who rose above everyone else with the level of kindness they showed.
Who's the kindest person you know? Someone who really exudes "nice." Who is always willing to help without a complaint. Who offers a smile and an encouraging word. One of the kindest persons I have seen is Fred Rogers. "Mister Rogers," as he's known to countless children (and adults!) seemed to be the manifestation of kindness. There was a national buzz about a year ago about Fred Rogers with the release of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” starring Tom Hanks as our favorite next-door neighbor. The movie is loosely based upon an Esquire profile of Fred Rogers “Can You Say…Hero?” (https://classic.esquire.com/article/1998/11/1/can-you-say-hero) done by Tom Junod back in 1998. I encourage you to read that article and then see the movie. Fred’s wife, Joanne, recently passed away and once again his name, work and mission is being lifted up as something we should all aspire to be like.