Jesus Christ said in Luke 6:31 “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise”. This statement is often referred to as the “Golden Rule”. The most common interpretation of this passage that is taught today is “Treat others as you would want to be treated if you were in their situation”. And that is actually a pretty accurate interpretation of what Christ was saying.
Over two and a half centuries since it’s founding, many Americans have used the “Golden Rule” to push their culture and government for new social acceptances and legal protections regarding marriage, gender roles and sexual behavior in America. Below is a list of some these major changes.
20 Ways America Has Applied the “Golden Rule” to Gender Roles and Sex Over Two Centuries
- As men, we should want women to have the right to own property, because if we were in their shoes that is what we would want.
- As men, we should want women to be able to divorce their husbands in the same way and for the same reasons that men divorce their wives because if we were in their shoes that is what we would want.
- As men, we should want women to have the same custody rights to their children in divorce as men do, because if we were in their shoes that is what we would want.
- As men, we should want women to have the right to alimony and child support as they divorce their husbands, because if we were in their shoes that is what we would want.
- As fathers, we should never try to control or pressure our daughters in regard to their love lives, what men they see or what men they seek to marry because if we were in their shoes this is not how we would want to be treated.
- As men, we should want women to vote, because if we were in their shoes that is what we would want.
- As men, we should not want women excluded from any careers, because if we were in their shoes this is not how we would want to be treated.
- As Christian men, we should want Christian women to be able to hold any position in the church that a man can hold including that of being a Pastor, because if we were in their shoes this is what we would want.
- As men, we should not want women forbidden from having abortions, because if we were in their shoes, we would want the right to have an abortion.
- As husbands, we should not try to control our wife’s behavior by telling her whether she can work outside the home or not because if we were in her shoes this is not how we would want to be treated.
- As husbands, we should not try to control what friends our wife has or talks to because if we were in her shoes this is not how we would want to be treated.
- As husbands we should not try to control our wife’s behavior by telling her how much money she can spend on various items because if we were in her shoes this is not how we would want to be treated.
- As husbands, we should not try to control what church our wife attends because if we were in her shoes this is not how we would want to be treated.
- As husbands, we should not try to pressure our wife in any way to have sex if she is not in the mood or she tells us “no” because if we were in her shoes this is not how we would want to be treated.
- As men, we should not look at women as objects of potential visual and physical sexual pleasure because if we were women we would not want to be looked at in this way.
- As men, we should not seek out women as wives so we can take sexual pleasure in their bodies, so they can bear our children, care for our children and keep our homes while we go and make our mark on the world in our careers. Because after all, if we were women we would not want to be pursued by men for these reasons. But rather as men, we should want women to have the same career opportunities we do and we should want wives strictly for human companionship and as equal partners that we can share our lives with and not as “sex objects”, “breeding machines”, “nannies”, “cooks” and “maids”.
- As husbands, we should not enjoy the sight of or think of any other woman other than our wives in a sexual manner because if we were women, we would not want our husbands enjoying the sight or thought of any other woman but us.
- As heterosexual people, we should want homosexual people to be made to feel comfortable actively their lives as homosexuals and we should want them to have the right to marry just as we heterosexuals do. Because after all, if we were homosexuals that is how we would want to be treated.
- As cisgender people, we should want transgender people to be made to feel comfortable being transgender and not as if they have a mental disorder. Because after all, if we were transgender, that is how we would want to be treated.
- As cisgender heterosexual Christians, we would should want homosexual and transgender persons to be able to join our churches as members and even lead our congregations as clergy.
I have made an effort in the list above to try and put the changes in chronological order. In the beginning of the list you will note women’s rights changes in regard to property and divorce rights which occurred from the mid-19th century up to the beginning of the 20th century. These rights were fought for by women and granted to them before their crowning achievement of Woman’s Suffrage in 1920. Also note that just before talking about women voting I talk about women not wanting to be under their father’s authority for marriage. This started in the late 19th century with the advent of the new practice of “dating” which encouraged women to reject their father’s authority over them in seeking a husband.
Then of course as the list progresses, we see the new changes that Second Wave Feminism brought us in regard to telling men what they should want women and marriage for. And finally, we see the changes that have occurred over the last decade regarding the treatment of LGBTQ persons.
As we look at the list above there is a key word, we must take notice of. And that key word is “want”.
Anyone seeking to apply Christ’s statement in Luke 6:31, otherwise known as the “Golden Rule”, must take into account what God says we should want. Failure to do this will cause the gross misapplication we have seen of the “Golden Rule” in America over the past two centuries.
In the Gospel of Matthew we read an extended version of the “Golden Rule”:
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
Matthew 7:12 (KJV)
What was Christ saying here? He was saying that the entire foundation of the “Golden Rule” is the Word of God, the Bible. And what is the foundation of all moral truth in the Bible? The answer is given to us by Christ later in the Gospel of Matthew:
“36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Matthew 22:36-40 (KJV)
So, the greatest command is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, our soul and our mind. And the second one, to love our neighbor as our self, is built upon the first. Christ was quoting two commands from the Law of Moses.
The first is found in the book of Deuteronomy:
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
Deuteronomy 6:5 (KJV)
The second is found in the book of Leviticus:
“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.”
Leviticus 19:18 (KJV)
Now here comes the million-dollar question. How do we as Bible believing Christians know if we are loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves by God’s definition? The answer is given to us near the end of the New Testament in the following Scripture passage:
“2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
1 John 5:2 (KJV)
The definition of loving God, loving our neighbors and following Christ’s “Golden Rule” is all premised upon one simple truth.
That we are keeping God’s commands in all we do. That we love what he loves. That we hate what he hates. That we want for ourselves what he wants for us.
This Scriptural truth I have just mentioned runs directly contrary to the vast majority of American teaching both outside and sadly even inside most Christian churches today. We no longer want to adjust our wants and desires to what God wants us to want. But instead we are trying to transpose on to God our wants and desires. Today we actually have churches teaching that God is a feminist and that he is pro-LGBTQ.
The Scriptures actually warn of this time coming and at the same time they command for those of us who are faithful to God’s Word to call out this wickedness:
“2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
2 Timothy 4:2-5 (KJV)
We Must Change Our Wants to What God Wants for Us
David wrote by the inspiration of God what should be the desire of every man and woman who seeks to please God with their lives and show their love for him:
“Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.”
Psalm 86:11 (KJV)
“With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.”
Psalm 119:10 (KJV)
So now we must tackle the question of what God wants for men and women which should determine what men and women want for themselves.
Should Women Want Equal Rights with Men?
While Genesis 9:6 tells us that men and women are both made in the image of God, we find in 1 Corinthians 11:7 that only man “is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man”. And later in that same passage in I Corinthians 11:9 we read “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man”.
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he gives us God purpose and design in marriage:
“23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”
Ephesians 5:23-29 (KJV)
In 1 Corinthians 14:35 the Apostle Paul further elaborated on the husband’s duty to be his wife’s spiritual authority and teacher:
“And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
1 Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)
And the Apostle Peter gave the following exhortation to women:
“5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
I Peter 3:5-6 (KJV)
God created marriage as picture of the relationship between himself and his people. God is pictured as husband to Israel in the Old Testament and Christ is pictured as a husband to his Church in the New Testament. Men as husbands picture God in leading, teaching, correcting, rebuking, providing for and protecting their wives as Christ does his church. Women as wives picture the people of God in their submission to, service to and dependence upon their husbands for their spiritual leading and teaching as well as their physical provision and protection.
Based upon the clear teachings of the Scriptures shown above we can see that women should have no want or desire for equality with men and that they instead should want to be under the authority of men in all areas of their lives whether it is civil government, the church or in their marriage.
Should Daughters Want to Be Free of Their Father’s Authority Before They Are Married?
The Scriptures give us the following commands regarding a father’s authority over his daughter:
“2 If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
3 If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father’s house in her youth; 4 And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her; then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand.
5 But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her.”
Numbers 30:2-5 (KJV)
“Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.”
Jeremiah 29:6 (KJV)
“16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.”
Exodus 22:16-17 (KJV)
There is a reason that we have fathers walk their daughters down the aisle and then we have the traditional statement at weddings “who gives this woman to be wed” and before modern times it was not “her mother and I” but rather it was her father alone saying “I do”.
This tradition is actually firmly rooted in the Word of God as is shown in the passages above. In God’s design fathers give or refuse their daughters for marriage and men take women in marriage with the permission of the woman’s father.
Now there are of course exceptions to this rule when women are widows like in the story of Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 3:8-9). Also, the Bible makes an exception for this rule of having the father’s permission when men take wives as the spoils of war as seen in Deuteronomy 21:11-14.
Based upon the clear teachings of the Scriptures shown above we can see that a daughter should want to be under her father’s authority before marriage and she should want his direction and blessing for marriage.
Should people want to be LGBTQ or live the LGBTQ lifestyle?
The Scriptures have the following things to say in regard to LGBTQ persons:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Genesis 1:27 (KJV)
“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”
Deuteronomy 22:5 (KJV)
“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”
Leviticus 20:13 (KJV)
“26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”
Romans 1:26-27 (KJV)
Based upon the clear teachings of the Scriptures shown above we can see that no person should want to be made comfortable being any part of LGBTQ. But rather such persons should be ashamed of such desires.
Should Men Want Women for Sex, Having Children and Caring for their Homes?
The Scriptures give the following exhortations to young women:
“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
1 Timothy 5:14 (KJV)
“4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
Titus 2:4-5 (KJV)
And the Scriptures gives the following exhortation to men:
“18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”
Proverbs 5:18-19 (KJV)
Based upon the clear teachings of the Scriptures shown above we can see that men should indeed desire to marry young women for sexual pleasure, for them to bear children and for them to guide and keep their homes.
I have shown here conclusive proof from the Bible that in order to properly apply the “Golden Rule” Christ gave that we must take into account what God wants us to want and what he wants others to want.
For instance, often times as parents we will find that our children do not want to do the things they should want to do. They should want to do their homework and get good grades. But sometimes they simply do not want to do their homework.
Now if we were to put ourselves in their shoes at their age, we may have felt the same way. But does that mean we should let them not do their homework? Of course not. Their want is WRONG. It is not what God wants them to want.
In the same way men are not breaking Christ’s “Golden Rule” by wanting women as wives for sexual pleasure, for them to bear children and for them to guide and keep their homes. And men are not wrong for wanting to lead, teach and mold their wives as they see fit according to the Word of God.
A man is no more wrong for wanting to control and guide his wife’s actions than a parent is for wanting to control and guide their child’s actions.
Some may say “but women are not children” and that is a very true and Biblical statement. But it is equally true and Biblical to state that women are not men either. In other words, children are not equal with women, but also women are not equal with men.
It is modern society that has invented two new social classes, Adults and Minors. But God’s design has three social classes, Men, Women and Children.
And finally, on the topic of LGBTQ persons and how the “Golden Rule” applies to them. Clearly no LGBTQ person should be “proud” of their sinful desires, but rather they should be ashamed of them and seek help to overcome such wicked desires.
Christians are not breaking Christ’s “Golden Rule” in refusing to make LGBTQ persons comfortable in their wicked desires nor in refusing to allow them to become members of or clergy in churches.
Secular Liberals are absolutely right about one thing that many Christians refuse to accept. There is absolutely an “intersectionality” between women’s rights and LGBTQ rights. LGBTQ rights are a direct result of the Women’s Right’s Movements of the mid 19th Century. This is a reality that Bible believing Christians must face and address in their churches.
So what is the “Golden Rule” when understood in the entire context of the Bible?
We should do unto others as God would desire us to want done to ourselves if we were in their position.
2 thoughts on “America’s Misapplication of the Golden Rule”
Much like Christians think love means being nice instead of speaking the truth in love (honor of God and for the benefit of the hearer not their approval of the speaker), the golden rule has been twisted into an abomination. The conflation of gender roles was the logical prerequisite to the rise of transsexualism. Women want to be like men (ever since they couldn’t be as God) and women want men to more like women, ironically while often lamenting the lack of manly men. Men wanting to please women have become “in touch” with their feminine side and have been trained to act as non-sexual beings in all but a few venues. Blending the sexes has been a social and spiritual catastrophe. Once again, for he has eyes to see, one can see with certainty that God’s way was the best way. His paths are a blessing and all other paths lead to destruction.
I have one small quibble with the article. Not a disagreement per se, but a reticence to accommodate another abused idea in Christendom.
IMO Gen 9:6 does not explicitly tell us that both males and females are created in the image of God. The word translated as “man” is “Adam”. That word can be the proper the name for Adam the individual, a reference to males or mankind. While I agree that God is requiring the life of any animal that kills a member of mankind, the image of God statement is less unambiguous. It could be interpreted as Adam the covenantal representative of humanity, males as the covenantal representatives of households or as humanity. Most people cite Genesis 1:27 to back the Imagio Deo claim, but I presume you are aware of the problems of using that to support the claim and so went with a stronger reference.
Theologians from the Middle Ages and Reformation found two different theories for the image of God. One was sinlessness. This theory suggests that the image of innocence as God is sinless so man imaged God in his state of sinlessness and in the state of judicial innocence due to his justification. This theory holds that the moral innocence of man is so marred by his fallen nature that it is almost non-existsnt, save for the cleansing blood of Christ. The second theory is that the image is the logos; logos as the Greek philosophers have used the term. It is language, reason creativity and rational thought both in the abstract and in the concrete. This theory observes that humans are unique in the use language, mathematics, inventions, art and problem solving. These attributes are communicative from God and so bear His likeness or image.
While I see some value in both of these ideas, neither of these on their own make a distinction between the sexes which leaves them inadequate to account for 1 Cor 11:7. 1 Cor 11:7 seems to be highlighting the ideas of authority, headship and glory.
My quibble is that I often hear the idea that “men and women equally bear the image of God.” While you did not write the word “equal”, it is so common to be understood even when not stated, (like how the Bible doesn’t state it). There is some support for the term “both” but equal confers an idea imposed upon scripture rather than either explicitly laid down or the result of a good and necessary consequence of deduction from scripture. Even as the golden rule has been twisted to affirm sin, so the Imagio Deo has been twisted to support feminism and social-patricide.
I hear exactly what you are saying I think you and I pretty well agree. In my recent article “Does the Bible say it is ok to murder women?” I covered this.
I agree that the Hebrew word in Genesis 9:6 is “adam” but as we both know that word can be used to describe Adam the person, an individual man, a group of men or mankind. When it is used in the sense of mankind, it refers to all humanity, including women. The context of Genesis 9:6 makes no qualifiers that would indicate it is specifically speaking of male human beings, unlike Genesis 1:27 which you know I have covered in detail elsewhere. Genesis 1:27 specifically refers to the person of Adam, and I Corinthians 11:7 confirms this applies to all male human beings, but not female human beings.
But I cannot look at Genesis 9:6 and see anything other than if you murder any member of mankind(which includes women) then you must be killed because in the image of God made he mankind. From a textual perspective I can’t justify changing the second adam in the verse to just “men” as that would take out the reason for why it is wrong to murder any human being.
I actually very much subscribe to the second theory you mention of what constitutes humanity:
I covered this in a graphic I made for that other article:
I agree with you 100% that men and women do NOT equally bear the image of God. They both bear the image of God in their common human traits as I have shown in the graphic above, however men in their masculine traits represent God’s image in a way that women do not. This is why the Bible only says of man that “he IS THE image and glory of God”. There is a difference between men and women both have some traits of God(thus both being made in the image of God) and the Scripture stating of man that “HE IS THE image and glory of God”.
Hope that makes sense.