Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people”
God has seen the rise and fall of many empires in the past and present. Most historians agree that an empire’s progressive corruption will lead to its later downfall. A telltale sign: The nation or empire does not care about the rest of the world and only fosters matters of national self-interest. It wants to grow bigger and bigger in order to dominate other nations instead of collaborating with them. Favoritism of rich people is another sign of progressive corruption. Deference to the upper classes while neglecting the needs of the poor brings division and encourages criminal activity. Lack of interest in the next generation further promotes the downward trend. Trashing the environment for example is not acting in the best interest of our children and children’s children.
Unfortunately, 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 described 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:
- The Instruction of Ankhsheshonq, an ancient Egyptian papyrus copy from the Ptolemaic period (332–30 BCE although its content could be from earlier times) contains an early negative affirmation of the Golden Rule: “Do not do to a man what you dislike, so as to cause another to do it to you.” Source: Ankhsheshonq 15.23; weblink: http://oaks.nvg.org/egyptian-proverbs.html#sebayt
- The Sanskrit tradition of ancient India provides a reference from “The Mahābhārata,” known as the longest epic poem ever written: “Hence, by self-control and by making dharma (right conduct) your main focus, treat others as you treat yourself.” Source: The Mahābhārata; Author: Vyasa; Verses: 200,000; Religion: Hinduism; weblink: https://blog.practicalsanskrit.com/2013/05/do-unto-others-golden-rule-of-humanity.html
- In Ancient Greece, Socrates (436-338 BCE) wrote: “Do not do unto others what angers you if done to you by others.”
- In Ancient Persia the Pahlavi Texts of Zoroastrianism say: “That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to another whatsoever is not good for itself.” Source: The Pahlavi Texts of Zoroastrianism (300 BCE – 1000 CE); weblink: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule
- The following is excerpted from The Life of a Shawnee by W. L. Mundell: “Do not kill or injure your neighbor, for it is not him that you injure, you injure yourself. But do good to him, therefore add to his days of happiness as you add to your own. Do not wrong or hate your neighbor, for it is not him that you wrong, you wrong yourself. But love him, for Moneto loves him also as he loves you.” Source: Native American, the Shawnee – Merceronline; weblink: http://www.merceronline.com/Native/native02.htm
- 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; and we can love our neighbor as ourselves when we know that God loves us.