Devotional — The golden rule

Published 4:55 pm Saturday, August 27, 2022

Last month several religious leaders from Prince Edward County were asked to address “The Golden Rule” as a guiding principle in the development of a future housing project here in Farmville. Those excellent presentations started me thinking about human interactions that have influenced our past and will undoubtedly impact our future.

Have you ever watched a movie in which an evil person inflicts harm on another and when they are caught, and have to face the consequences of their actions, they beg for mercy? Although movies are somewhat a contrived set of circumstances, in our daily lives we have also witnessed this behavior in some cases. I cannot help but believe that this plea for mercy is an expression of regret for previous actions.

Entertainers, political, social and even, in some instances religious leaders display physical characteristics of regret in their appearance even if they do not articulate their feelings. They may lose weight, their faces become drawn and wrinkled, and their entire physical expression is one of depression.

In Scripture we find, “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).

In our human interaction some people seem to think that they will never have to answer for their actions. Consequently many men and women have and still are suffering oppression and social injustice at the hands of others.

Recently Pope Francis traveled to Canada to apologize for the church’s abusive practices toward Indigenous children. The inhuman treatment by clergy toward these children has destroyed the lives of thousands.

There are many other examples of oppression motivated by greed and power: the chattel enslavement of people of color, colonialism in third world nations and apartheid in South Africa.

Today, social and economic partitioning continues to oppress the human potential of millions of people. But in every case, as time passes the Almighty intervenes. The purveyors of injustice must repent or face consequences of their actions.

The Almighty asks us to redirect our priorities. He says, “By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which ye love; and whatever ye give, of a truth God knows it well.” (Qur’an 3:92).

Imagine, what a wonderful world this would be if we collectively gave up our love for greed, and the desire for power.

I think this is the underlying principle of “The Golden Rule.”

Qadir Abdus-Sabur, Ph.D. is an Imam at the Islamic Center of Prince Edward. His email address is qas1944@gmail.com.