applying the golden rule to our relationships
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31 (NIV)
The Golden Rule sounds basic enough and pretty elementary to put into effect. It’s so universal that it’s even widely applied in some form in a non-Christian context, mainly because of its truth and power as a method, both personally and corporately. But how do we actually apply this rule in our relationships, and more specifically, our conversations?
The first step in achieving this, I believe, is understanding the spiritual principle of doing to others as you would have them do to you: Dying to yourself. At the center of understanding and practicing this principle is the realization that you were NOT designed to be at the center of your relationships and conversations. This implies selflessness, humility and obedience.
I believe that “self” is the root of virtually every unhealthy conversation or communication style. If you view this concept through the lens of ministry it could become more vivid. It would not make sense to minister to someone effectively, with the bible as your guide, and look to apply things like self-interest, control, skewed motive, and self empowerment. Ministry is instinctively devoted to serving others from a place of humility, so let’s carry that over to our conversations!
Some characteristics of a ‘Golden Rule Communicator’
Listens well (isslow to speak and quick to listen)
Invests time in the conversation
Will postpone an important conversation to ensure full participation, attentiveness, and time to adequately weigh the concern(s)
Communicates with the express intent of strengthening, encouraging or comforting
Doesn't need to be heard or throughly explained
Another tool that we can use to help us implement the Golden Rule in our conversations is the Edification Filter. This tool purposefully accompanies scripture (1st Corinthians 14:3-4) by taking our destiny in communication to strengthen, encourage, and comfort at face value and being obedient in declaring it in our conversations.
The Edification Filter
“But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening1, encouraging2 and comfort3. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.” (1st Corinthians 14: 3-4)
Is your motive or purpose in communicating to...
1. Strengthen or edify 2. Encourage or exhort 3. Comfort or console
Prophecy, by way of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, employs us to be led and likewise lead others into all truth and things yet to come (John 16:13). By encouraging someone to break the chains of unforgiveness, for example, we can actually “see” them as God does, as someone who freely forgives. However, before we can prophesy through the power of building one another up, we must first and primarily love. (see 1st Corinthians 14:1)
Prophecy & Communication
Because prophecy reveals God's heart beat and communicates his message, it has everything to do with communication. And since we all can prophesy (1st Corinthians 14:31) this standard for communication not only applies to prophets but to all Christians. But, as previously mentioned, it all boils down to love. You can prophesy all God's mysteries and with all knowledge, but if love isn't your motive you gain not a thing (1st Corinthians 13:1-3)
So, let's be mindful of our conversations and not let our tongues go unchecked. For, we should "Let your conversation(s) be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that [we] may know how to answer everyone." - Colossians 4:6