Living the Golden Rule

Living the Golden Rule

From Chicken Soup for the Latter-day Saint Soul

Living the Golden Rule

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Gal. 5:14

When I first started my college education, we had one child. We lived in a very humble but affordable house. We painted, cleaned, and did repairs and yard work as part of the rent. I did early-morning janitorial work, then rushed to classes and studied late at night. It was a struggle, both financially and emotionally.

During the week of mid-semester exams, the plumbing went out in our house, and a contractor attached a condemnation order on the house. The college squeeze was so stressful, we decided I needed to remain another week in that house and continue doing my part-time job. Because of sanitation issues, my wife and son went to stay a week with her parents.

It was four days until payday. I came home from work Saturday morning and opened the refrigerator. There was nothing but a half cube of slightly wrapped butter and one stalk of celery. The celery was rubbery, and one end had turned black with reeking rot.

It was at that moment I felt guilt. I was hungry, with nothing at home to eat, and no cash in hand to purchase food. I started contemplating dropping out of school.

I forced myself to study that day and late into the night. I decided to get at least four hours of sleep before leaving to do my early-morning job. I was glad the morning was a Sunday. When I got in our Volkswagen Bug, I saw a ten dollar bill fastened to the steering wheel. Who could have given that to us? With tears filling my eyes, I realized I could now buy some bread to go with the butter, and I could continue until payday.

While I was sitting in our church meetings, I wondered if the Good Samaritan was the bishop or the Sunday school teacher. As I sat in the various meetings and participated in the activities, I smiled at everyone. I monitored people’s faces. I maintained eye contact to see if anyone recognized my inquisitive smile.

I was in awe all day and into the next week. I was so appreciative; I treated everyone as if they were an icon and my salvation.

It was this experience and others like it that motivated me to practice the Golden Rule. I have found delight in doing something that causes people to say, “Thank you— that made my day.”

Think how fulfilling it would be to secretly do something nice for neighbors—or for a less active member of your ward. He or she would try to find out who did the act, and would start to smile at everyone. He or she would maintain eye contact and see if anyone recognized such an inquisitive smile. Someone might even decide to return to full activity as a result!

John Nield

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