Recently I had to teach a college class for the first time. I was standing in for an absent professor so the content was not my own. In reviewing the material for the class, I came across a curious new idiom that is being promulgated: The Platinum Rule.
As I taught I was a little taken aback, as platinum is a superior metal in most modern people’s eyes than Gold. Therefore I was immediately assaulted with the idea that the teaching was essentially saying that this rule was superior to the Golden Rule articulated by Jesus in the Bible. Really?
We have come up with a way to treat a person that is superior to the revealed way that God himself has given us. Wow.
Now you can see why I paused in the teaching of my class. I was stunned. I did manage to finish the lesson without incident but it was definitely something I had to go back and study.
The Platinum rule comes from Dr. Tony Alessandria, a motivational speaker and best selling author. It states, “Treat others in the way they like to be treated.” You can read more here.
He claims that his rule IS superior to the golden rule; here is a quote from his website. “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” Ah hah! What a difference. The Platinum Rule accommodates the feelings of others. The focus of relationships shifts from “this is what I want, so I’ll give everyone the same thing” to “let me first understand what they want and then I’ll give it to them.”
Although, well meaning Dr. Alessandra misses the point of the Golden Rule. Unwittingly he reveals his lack of Biblical understanding and the significance of Jesus’s statement, and in not studying the context of this truth; he unfortunately finds himself in the unenviable position of espousing a truth that he claims is superior to that revealed by God himself. The result no matter how well intentioned is that he makes the words of Christ of none effect. It is like saying Christ’s standard is the beginning of knowledge, not the end.
I can’t help but think if I am watching the motivational/psychological equivalent of Kanye West and the whole bigger than yessus scene. To me we live in interesting times when someone claims they have a truth or guideline that is superior to the son of God.
If you google the phrase platinum vs golden rule, you will see words used like “an upgrade to the golden rule”, or a variation of the Golden rule.” The implicit implication is that it’s better.
I am sorry but what we have here at best is misguided veiled humanistic thinking that again makes man the center. Let me explain.
Jesus said there were really only two commandments and ultimately all the law and the prophets hung on these two. “ 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. ( Matt 22:40)
The center or locus that compels action is not oneself or even others. It is God. In other words, there is no impetus for action (from a Biblical standpoint) outside of my love for God. I do not treat you right because that is the way I think that is how you want to be treated. I’m sorry my sin nature simply is selfish and is too much consumed with what I want. No, I treat you the way you should be treated because of how GOD feels about it. And there people is the rub. The correct paradigm to understand one another lies not within ourselves. It relies solely within God himself. Who in the incarnation gives us the perfect example of the Golden Rule. (GR)
Of course, the Golden rule accommodates the feelings of others. It would be impossible to enact if you were not empathetic to the plight of fellow human beings. The parable of the Good Samaritan is the ultimate expression of the Golden Rule. But what is of more greater importance is that one’s understanding of humanity can only come by having a proper relationship to God. Here is where the good doctor misses it, and why this teaching sounds good but is subtly corrupting. The Dr thinks the focus of the GR is oneself. He contrasts this with making the PR focus on others. The fact is that the focus of the GR is God. We do the GR BECAUSE we have the relationship with GOD. THE GR assures us that we maintain right horizontal relationships with each other and with God. It assumes that we understand that proper relationship with God will give us the correct understanding to deal with others. The GR also recognizes that empathy begins with a healthy Self-concept, and recognizes that it cannot be implemented unless that concept exists. In other words proper self concept is the incubator to be able to properly treat people well. Not vice versa. And that proper respect for oneself and concept originates in understanding how we are viewed in the eyes of God.
Warped views of oneself, create warped views of others which disempowers one to “treat people how they want to be treated”. God’s order is correct and always will be. God, man, others. Until we realize that we will never fully actualize how people should be treated.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject, please send me a comment and lets here what you have to say!