Does The “Golden Rule” Trump God’s Word?

I heard his statement on the news shortly after voting for Amendment One in North Carolina which clarified that marriage is meant to be between one man and one woman. Thankfully this law passed in NC but protests and rebuttals are sure to follow, especially in light of the President’s national statement claiming that he now supports same sex marriage.

However, what bothered me more than his actual statement was that he justified his decision by referring to not only his faith in Christ, but because that faith compelled him to follow the “golden rule”.

As his words spun in my mind, I tried to comprehend the confusing logic that he was using to justify his new stance on this subject. My thoughts wrestled with one another as I tried to make sense of his comment and decipher if the golden rule, although extremely important, really trumps God’s Word.   Should God’s definition of marriage get tossed around the window, under the guise of the “golden rule”?

So my fingers got to typing as I did a little research about the golden rule, and my findings confirmed my suspicions.

Although the golden rule is usually associated with Christianity, many other religions have their own versions of it including Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and more. In fact, one website listed the “golden rules” for 21 world religions, all of which were founded on a verse or statement in their bible or religious resource implying that people should treat others as they wish to be treated.

There are also people who live by this philosophy of the “golden rule”, without ever associating themselves with any specific faith at all.  Everyone, whether they are atheists, agnostics, or members of an organized religion, live by some sort of “golden rule”, or moral code.

For Christians, we base our “golden rule” on Matthew 7:12, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets”.   But the stark difference between other religious versions, and the Christian version, is that it states that a Christian’s actions should be a sum of The Law.  Not an exception to the Law if the circumstances seem to warrant it, but the sum of it.

A Christian’s actions, decisions and behaviors are meant to be guided by God’s biblical truths alone, not by feelings or popular consensus.  To be guided by the rules set forth by the One who created us, not merely by a conscience molded by the world’s ever-changing view of right and wrong.

You see, the purpose of one’s conscience is to help us establish between good and evil, but it doesn’t determine what is good and evil, or right from wrong. Only God can do that.

We hear the golden rule reiterated again in the Bible in Mark 12:31a, which says The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “ I totally one hundred percent agree! We are all called to love our ‘neighbors’ as ourselves, fueled by the love of Christ. We are also commanded in Matthew 7 to not judge others, lest we be judged ourselves; to not look at the plank in another person’s eye when we have a log in our own; and to remember that anyone who seeks the Kingdom of God will receive it, despite their sin, or the type of relationships they choose. 

We are all sinners, in need of forgiveness and redemption. And although our sins may vary greatly, we should always offer grace and acceptance to all people, while hoping to receive it in return. 

However, the commandment in Mark 12:30 has to be obeyed first, before we can obey Mark 12:31. Mark 12:30 says Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”   

Our first commandment is to love God above all else…. above our feelings, above our conscience, above what is politically correct, above what other people think or want, and above the influences of a society based on self, not God. To love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, so that our every thought and action will be captive to His opinion of right and wrong, and good and evil – instead of our own.

We are first called to love God, and then called to love our neighbors. The first commandment equips us spiritually to carry out the second commandment. God put them in that order on purpose, and for a purpose.

The golden rule is usually considered a matter of conscience, regardless of faith. But as devoted Christians, who believe that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), we are to be guided not merely by our conscience of a golden rule, but by The Law.   God’s Law.

All people should be treated equally and fairly, with love, kindness, respect, dignity, acceptance and understanding. But our conscience is not the trump card that can override God’s truth. Instead, His truth is the standard to which all of our consciences should be aligned – regardless of the matter at hand.

It is not enough to claim to believe the gospel – we also must actually apply it in our lives – even in the hardest of decisions when the “golden rule” is pushing us to support the world’s ways, instead of God’s.

Truth is, God’s Word, The Law, is sovereign, and nothing has ever, or will ever, trump it. 


  1. Tristi on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    What a way a to express the truth! Thank you so much for this post. I whole-heartedly agree and appreciate the way you put it all into words.

  2. Sheila on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Well said.

  3. Anonymous on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    While I don’t agree with redefining marriage, I also don’t agree with how many Christians are speaking out against it on the basis of homosexuality being a sin. Fornication, adultery and abortions are sins but we are quick to extend grace to those people caught in those sins and apply the golden rule to them. Really struggling to understand why so many Christians want to “isolate” homosexual sin and throw the bible at them ignoring the parts that speak to so many sins heterosexuals commit and are never judged by. I really don’t feel this is a “Christian” issue. Just my thoughts. I do appreciate this post and respect the meaning, just really wish we wouldn’t “silo” homosexuality. Bless you Tracie.

  4. Debbie F on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    I too don’t understand why everyone is so “against” homosexuality. People that are gay, seems to be born that way and if that is the case, didn’t God create them that way? I mean, a child that is born with a deformant is accepted as “God’s child”, why not people born “gay”? As for the same-sex marriage issue, the bible say to love thy neighbor and that love is the most important – and if that is the case – how can love between two people (no matter what sex they are), be wrong?
    I love your blog and I hope no one takes offence to anything I have said, but….

  5. Anonymous on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Thank you, I struggle with this issue because I too have tried to balance being kind and tolerant with what the Bible tells us. You have helped me clarify my thoughts. Thank you!

  6. Christine B. on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Amen Tracie! Beautifully stated.

  7. Theresa Baron on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    This is an age and generational issue.

    Even Thom Tillis, Speaker of the NC House said this amendment would be overturned in 20 years. Why? Because the younger generation doesn’t agree with the older folks who are now in power. They love their friends, no matter their sexual orientation and wish no discrimination towards them.

    For an excellent article on just this, visit Rachel Held Evans:

    Tracie, you might have read that a Mecklenburg (Charlotte, NC) commissioner by the name of Bill James is already calling for health benefits to be rescinded for partners of same sex unions. He called for this less than 24 hours after the vote.

    I am very proud I voted AGAINST taking anyone’s rights or benefits from them.

  8. Leslie Ann on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Tracie I agree with you! Thank you!

  9. Anonymous on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    I have never seen this issue addressed so well. It is sad your post would draw criticism if post would draw criticism if posted on fb or other social media site. The phrase ‘love the sinner, hate the sin,’ applies to everyone, but the supporters of same sex marriage believe we are taking the position of judging persons and we don’t accept them. How far from the truth.

  10. SPLee on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Tracie, I agree with you that nothing trumps God’s Word. Not now, not ever.

    The question that I have is that the term God’s Word and the Law seem to mean the same thing in your post. Aren’t they distinctly different? John 1:1 tells us Jesus Christ is the Word. The Word was made flesh so that He could set us free from the Law (Galatians 4:5). Galatians 3:10 says those who depend on the Law live under a curse. Our faith in Christ sets us free from that curse. I take that to mean we put our faith in Christ, not in the Law.

    Remember when the rich your ruler asked Jesus what he must do to be saved? The Bible says that man walked away sad because he wasn’t willing to do what Jesus instructed. And Jesus, loving him, let him walk away. Christ doesn’t demand that we do as he teaches. He lets us choose. Being like Him, how can we demand that everyone live according to the Law? And certainly, how can any government make that demand?

    We, who believe, are not subject to the Law. Is it right that we demand that the population, believers or not, be subject to the Law?

  11. SPLee on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I also want to add that this very important debate was not on the ballot. None of us was asked if we think gay marriage is right. I might have voted differently it that was the case, since I do believe homosexuality goes against biblical law. We were asked if the NC state constitution should have an amendment added that defines the terms of marriage for everyone (regardless of religious belief).

  12. Anonymous on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 7:04 am

    The Golden Rule the Word of God.

  13. Anonymous on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Sorry, my italicised ‘is’ didn’t come out.

    What I meant to write was,

    The Golden Rule is the Word of God. And the Word of God is whole and complete; the Word does not trump itself.

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Tracie Miles is a bestselling author and the Director of COMPEL Training with Proverbs 31 Ministries.  She helps women grow stronger in their faith, pursue the life of purpose God designed them for and live a life of peace, joy and happiness despite their circumstances.

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