God has seen the rise and fall of many empires in the past and present. Most historians agree that an empire’s progressive corruption is responsible for its later downfall. Telltale signs of an empire on a downward spiral are:
- National self-absorbedness – The nation or empire does not care about the rest of the world. It only fosters matters of national self-interest.
- Power hunger – The nation or empire wants to grow bigger and dominate more people instead of collaborating with other nations.
- Favoritism of rich people – Little to no support of the poor and the disadvantaged combined with deference to the upper class causes division and leads to more crime.
- Lack of interest in the next generation – Trashing the environment is an example of not acting in the best interest of our children and children’s children.
Driven to dominate and subdue, earthly empires leave behind a trail of blood. And so, the battle for dominance has been raging on for generations. To bring peace to our world, we need an empire of a different kind. Instead of the kingdom of man we need the kingdom of God, a kingdom based on righteousness.
Righteousness or ethical conduct is best summarized in the Golden Rule: Love your neighbor as yourself. Interestingly, the concept of the Golden Rule occurs in nearly every religion and ethical tradition of the world, which leads me to believe that God has been openly promoting the Golden Rule all throughout human history:
- In ancient Egypt a late period papyrus (664 BC – 323 BC) contains an early negative affirmation of the Golden Rule: “That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another.”
- In ancient India the Sanskrit tradition says to treat others as you treat yourself.
- In ancient Greece Socrates (436-338 BC) says: “Do not do to others that which angers you when they do it to you.”
- Ancient Persia: (300-1000 AD) “That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to another whatsoever is not good for itself.”
- In ancient Rome Seneca the Younger (4 BC – 654 AD) expressed the Golden Rule with regards to the treatment of slaves: “Treat your inferior as you would wish your superior to treat you.”
- Lastly, in Judaism and Christianity the Bible spells out a number of rules of fair conduct, such as in Matthew 7:22: “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Specifically, in the Law of Moses we find the following instructions (Leviticus 19:18): “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
We uplift our nation when we live out the Golden Rule: Love your neighbor as yourself; and we can love our neighbor as ourselves when we know that God loves us.