Here’s a rarity. I’m going to delve a little bit into religion because I had a thought that should be true despite one’s creed. It’s a thought that one does not need to be a Christian to contemplate, because most Christians don’t think about it, even though it is there and should be the most important thing.
Everyone knows of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is a great rule of thumb, hence the title it has earned. However, I don’t think people think too much about what it is the Golden Rule for. Some just say it’s the most important rule, but I will shortly say why it is not. This is the rule for treating each other with Respect. In that sense it is, however the universality of the rule is still limited due to how we treat ourselves or how we would like to be treated. It’s a good step, but it does not encompass everything society needs.
Jesus, when questioned about the greatest Commandment, he replied with the two that sum it up. First concerns God, and the other says, “Love your Neighbor as Yourself.” This is also a great rule. It lines up with the Golden Rule, but this time it is for how to Love each other. Yet it still falls to the same limitations as Golden Rule.
Now what I am seeing as probably the greatest rule given is he said, “Love One Another as I have Loved You.” Here the understanding needs to come from the mythology of the situation. We don’t need to be Christians to interpret this as a High and Honorable Standard. How much did he love? The idea of dying of everyone, even those who abandoned and betrayed him, forgiving those who were insulting and cursing him while he was at his weakest, going through a painful and cruel death knowing beforehand how it would be, is how he loved them.
This was the rule for Love; a Love that was not simply good wishes or desire, but of self-sacrificing action for the good of anyone and everyone, good and bad. This is what makes his “new commandment” the greatest. It’s a Love that is strong even for those who hate you.
I think about Alfred’s scene in The Dark Knight Rises where he leaves Bruce in order to try and get him to move on. His monologue is very touching and heartbreaking because he is trying to get Bruce to live life, something that a lie kept him from doing. While the Truth was heartbreaking for Bruce, it was what was needed. This love went beyond the first two rules I mentioned, and dove into the third.
Perhaps when we hear the song "What the World needs is Love," we should consider it to be this kind of love. It might bring pain, but it's the love that will bring progress and happiness in the end.