“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” – Matthew 7:12
When you were a teenager did your parents ever go out of town leaving you in charge of the homestead? Or maybe you had a friend who was left home alone and invited you over. Were you or your friends ever tempted to take advantage of the situation by engaging in a little un-chaperoned party time? After all, it wasn’t often you had the chance to have the run of the place. (Remember Tom Cruise in the 1983 movie “Risky Business”?) Was I ever tempted by such a situation you might wonder? I think I’ll take the fifth amendment rather than answer that one. How about you?
When David became king he too was faced with the responsibility as well as the temptations that go along with having the run of the place. Sure enough, the first thing you know he saw Bathsheba and had her brought to him, which was absolutely within his power and authority. But, not only was she not his wife, she happened to be the wife of one of his most trusted and devoted military officers. Well, as we all know, after a failed attempt to cover up the indiscretion he went a step further by arranging for Bathsheba’s husband Uriah to be killed in battle so that no one would ever know – thus, piling one indiscretion on top of another. The fact was, though, that as king, David had the authority to do whatever he chose to do, but that did not mean that he should have.
In my previous career as manager of a Wall Street bond trading operation, one of my most challenging responsibilities was that of assuring that customers were treated fairly. Thankfully most of our financial professionals had high ethical standards, so fair treatment was seldom in question. But there were always a handful who would push the envelope to pad their commissions. Most were clever enough to remain technically within the boundaries of securities laws and internal policies, making it very difficult to dispute. The appeal then became, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Fortunately, Jesus provided an even better argument against those tempted to commit indiscretions or unethical behaviors, including those that push the envelope a bit. It is what we have come to know as the Golden Rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” It is a litmus test we can apply to EVERYTHING we say or do, before we say or do it. I’m sure King David wished he had thought about that!