Friday, January 08, 2016

"Dave's Rule and the Golden Rule"

Matthew 5.38-39; 7.12 Complete Jewish Bible

“You have heard that our fathers were told, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you not to stand up against someone who does you wrong. On the contrary, if someone hits you on the right cheek, let him hit you on the left cheek too!”

Always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that sums up the teaching of the Torah and the Prophets.”

Union Station was busy on December 27th, 2007. My aging mother, recovering from recent lung surgery, stood in a crowded waiting room to board the train from Portland to Seattle. I was there to assist mom and needed to verify her tickets. There wasn’t much time before departure. I got in line at the ticket counter, in a hurry to get information. Just before my turn to speak to an Amtrak representative, a woman stepped in front of me.

Me: Acting surprised and glaring at her.

Her: Ignoring me.
 
Me: “Excuse me, ma’am, I think you took my place in line.”

Her: “Oh, I just have a quick question to ask.”

Me: “I also have a quick question to ask.”

Her: “Well, I’m in a hurry because my train to Seattle leaves shortly.”

Me: “My mother is on the same train. I am also in a hurry.”

Her: Ignoring me.

When the man at the counter said “Next” both the lady and I advanced quickly. We were in a foot race and I was determined to win. The pushy woman and I crossed the finish line at the ticket window in a dead heat, shoulder to shoulder. The Amtrak rep did not know who to address. I spoke fast and got his attention first. After answering my question, I explained that the lady standing next to me also had a question. I left while they were still engaged in conversation.

I try to be fair. You might say Im an “eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” guy. I am courteous when treated courteously. That seems right to me. I am not treated in a manner I think I deserve. I assume I am entitled because I give others what I assume they are entitled to. I possess a finely tuned and acute sense of justice, especially where my (human, civil, legal, ethical, constitutional, or personal) rights are concerned. I take pride in my self-bestowed role as judge and arbiter.  

The Bible confronts my belief system: “There is only one Lawgiver and judge... but who are you who judge your neighbor?”  Apparently, Dave’s Rule and the Golden Rule do not quite match up.

Me: “Treat people the same way they treat you.”

Jesus: “Treat others as you would like them to treat you.”

Me: “But she stepped in front of me in line.”

Jesus: “Treat others as you would like them to treat you.”

Me:
“Who will watch out for my rights?”

Jesus: “Treat others as you would like them to treat you.”

Me:
“I am very fair. I will treat people with exactly as they deserve.”

Jesus: “Treat others as you would like them to treat you.”

Me:
“But that’s not right. It’s not fair or just!”

Jesus: “Treat others as you would like them to treat you.”

Me:
“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. That’s justice.”

Jesus: “But I tell you not to stand up against someone who does you wrong. Always treat others as you would like them to treat you.”
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The hauntingly beautiful watercolors on this post are entitled "Golden Rule" and "Winter Frost" by artist Chris Rankin whose limited edition art prints may be viewed and purchased at http://www.draftydesign.com/artprints.html.

1 comment:

JT said...

Turn the other cheek. God bless you.