Have you ever heard of the golden rule? It’s a moral precept promoted in one form or another by nearly every religion. In the Christian version, Jesus urges His disciples to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12). Simply put, “treat others the way you want to be treated.” Excellent advice for how to deal well with other people.
Ever hear of the platinum rule? Dr. Tony Alessandra, a marketing professor and speaker, developed this notion as an “alternative to the golden rule.” It moves the focus from you to others: “treat others the way they want to be treated.” He regards this shift as an improvement.
For example, if you like vanilla ice cream and you follow the golden rule, you’d give everyone vanilla whether they care for it or not. However, if you go with the platinum rule, your preference doesn’t matter. You’d find out their favorite flavor and then serve them. Their choice tops yours.
Has Alessandra improved on Scripture? Is his maxim greater than what Jesus advocates?
When you encounter an idea that appears to outdo biblical teaching, don’t fear it. Instead, revisit the Word. If you do, you may discover a deeper truth, hidden beneath the surface, waiting to reveal itself.
Alessandra’s right – the platinum rule aims at the interests of others while the golden rule emphasizes you. But is that a weakness? What if that’s the point?
Recall the last time you flew in a plane. Do you remember what the flight attendants told you about the oxygen masks in case of an emergency? They always instruct you to put yours on first; then, you can assist others. You’re not being selfish; you can’t help someone if you’ve passed out! You have to get yourself ready before you can serve others people.
The key is self-awareness.
The golden rule directs your attention to yourself. And I think it leads to the ultimate question of self-awareness: “who are you?”
Treating people the way you want to be treated forces you to consider your status as a child of God. It calls you to assess your motives, values, and attitudes. How close are you to the Lord? Can you handle the responsibility of loving others? What does God want in this situation? You get to determine all this! Jesus dares you to accept this challenge of spiritual growth.
Giving people what they want is comparatively easy. You don’t have to judge or confront; you just have to deliver!
Treating others the way you as Christ’s representative want to be treated demands that your actions arise out of His character forming within you. That’s the gold in the golden rule!
Is the platinum rule better than the Bible? On the surface, perhaps, but delve deeper. Into the Word hidden in your heart. Where the real gold lies.