To Do or Not to Do to Others?
“WHAT you do not want done to you, do not do to others.” This ethical maxim is attributed to the renowned Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius. Today, some 2,500 years later, many still hold to the belief that a person has done his moral duty simply by refraining from doing any harm to others.
To be sure, this Confucian code of conduct has its merits. The Bible, on the other hand, reveals another dimension of human behavior and interaction. In addition to what might be called the sin of commission, that is, committing wrongs against one’s fellow humans, the Bible speaks of the sin of omission. The Christian disciple James wrote: “If one knows how to do what is right and yet does not do it, it is a sin for him.” (James 4:17) Rather than simply instructing Christians not to do bad to others, Jesus Christ offered this counsel: “All things . . . that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them.”—Matthew 7:12.
God originally purposed that all mankind treat one another as they would like to be treated. He set the finest example in expressing care for the welfare of others in the way he created humans: “God proceeded to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) This means that God lovingly endowed humans with a conscience, which, when properly trained, would guide them to treat others the way they themselves would want to be treated.
Many today suffer hopelessly and helplessly at the hands of thoughtless and self-centered people. Clearly, what is needed is more than simply not to do what is bad and harmful to others but, rather, to do what is good and helpful to them. Because of this, Jehovah’s Witnesses voluntarily take positive action to help others to learn of the marvelous hope found in God’s Word. When they call on their neighbors with the good news from the Bible, they do so in a spirit of love, doing to others what they would want done to themselves.