If we say that the Golden Rule is naive, we are saying that the man who laid it down is naive. And that man was Jesus.
The irony is that we seem to actually believe that Jesus lived some easy life with no understanding of the dangers we face, forgetting that Jesus died as a victim of torture of the worst kind; that Jesus was the defendant in a show trial; that Jesus was himself murdered in a public, shameful, excruciating way.
We forget that the man who laid down the Golden Rule for us also laid down his life for us.
We forget that he knew suffering, he knew death, he knew shame, he knew anger and he knew temptation.
I think what we’re really doing is turning our backs on the demands of our faith in favor of its gifts, as if the two could be separated.
And where, oh where, is the disclaimer that the rule we call golden (as in something to be valued or treasured) not be observed when we are in groups (as in how we behave as a nation)?
Jesus knew what we face, the challenges of our lives. He always has known. Perhaps the earth journey was simply to show us that he’s always known, so we’d get it, the way a parent may share an episode from her youth with her teenager, to show the teenager that she really does understand. Maybe.
Whether it took a trip to planet earth to redeem us or whether it was an elaborate object lesson or something else entirely, of all the things Jesus was, naive was not one of them.
What we call the golden rule was part of his father’s business – the very family business that we, his followers, have inherited.
There are other businesses.
But this one is ours.
How we are to conduct that business is very clear.
We can come up with all the reasons in the world not to follow it.
But then, we’re about somebody else’s business, aren’t we?