Golden Rule

Scripture: Daniel 4:30, John 3:3, Psalm 127:1
There is a moral decay in our society today that reveals how little people are moved to help others in mortal danger. Crime rates, sexual promiscuity, and the materialistic philosophy shows that we live in a time that calls us to return to God's laws.
When you post, you agree to the terms and conditions of our comments policy.
If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.
To help maintain a Christian environment, we closely moderate all comments.

  1. Please be patient. We strive to approve comments the day they are made, but please allow at least 24 hours for your comment to appear. Comments made on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday may not be approved until the following Monday.

  2. Comments that include name-calling, profanity, harassment, ridicule, etc. will be automatically deleted and the invitation to participate revoked.

  3. Comments containing URLs outside the family of Amazing Facts websites will not be approved.

  4. Comments containing telephone numbers or email addresses will not be approved.

  5. Comments off topic may be deleted.

  6. Please do not comment in languages other than English.

Please note: Approved comments do not constitute an endorsement by the ministry of Amazing Facts or by Pastor Doug Batchelor. This website allows dissenting comments and beliefs, but our comment sections are not a forum for ongoing debate.

One dark night, a young woman in the respectable suburb of Kew Gardens, N. Y., was stabbed to death by a man in the street. It took him half an hour to accomplish his will. His victim broke away from him twice and tried to crawl to safety, screaming repeatedly for help. Thirty-eight people in nearby apartments heard her cries, came to the window to look out, and did nothing more. When somebody finally called the police, they arrived in two minutes. The woman was dead, her murderer gone.

In Albany, N. Y., a mentally retarded youth teetered on the roof of a down town hotel. A crowd of 3,000 people gathered below. There were shouts of "Jump! Jump!" and taunts of "You're chicken!" A little girl capered about on the sidewalk, imitating the frantic gestures of the would-be suicide. When the policemen finally coaxed him off the dizzy ledge, boos rang out from the crowd below.

How can such things occur in an American city? Are we becoming a nation of cowards? What has happened to people that they will not move a muscle to help a fellow human being in mortal danger? These recent episodes have stirred a ripple of national conscience. Psychiatrists and others have tried to explain the actions of the public in such cases. Some allege that incidents of this kind are the product of urban living, a sign of the inevitable brutalization that comes with existence in a great, crowded city. Yet, Albany is hardly a metropolis. And can any American assert with assurance that such things could not happen in his own home town, on his own quiet street?

Other observers hold that fear paralyzes the natural impulse to help a fellow mortal in distress. The outsider is afraid of endangering his own safety by trying to thwart a criminal act, it is argued. Yet the Kew Gardens apartment dwellers did not have to go down into the street and struggle with the stabber. All they needed to do was to pick up the telephone at their bedside and call the police. Nobody in that nightmare half hour was willing to do that much. The witnesses to that crime, when questioned later about their lack of action, had only the feeblest of excuses. One said, "I was tired." Another said she was afraid that her husband would "get involved." Several, when asked why they did not ask for help on the telephone, simply replied: "I don't know."

Another explanation that has been offered is that Americans have grown so inured to scenes of crime and violence on television that the actual thing has no reality for them. It seems only a spectacle, rather than a tragic happening. But if the American public is that far out of touch with reality, we are a long way toward being a dead nation. The cruelty of the ancient Romans who cheered while Christians were devoured by lions is a scar on the face of human history. The Romans, however, were at least reacting with some kind of emotion, no matter how inappropriate, to the bloody spectacle in the arena.

The attitude of many Americans toward the danger and suffering of others seems almost worse. Its characteristic feature is a hard-eyed apathy. People who watch others in mortal jeopardy often don't seem to care. Such an attitude indicates a deep sickness of selfishness. People shun "getting involved" in other people's troubles. They are "looking out for Number One." Everybody knows that such callousness is not universal in our country. It is hard to deny, however, that it is on the increase, in big cities and in small, in crowded slums and on farms. The episodes recently reported could be the handwriting on the wall, a fateful warning to American society. A nation cannot survive whose people expect to live in the surroundings of a high civilization, yet follow the rule of the jungle in their human relations. It is no good pretending that this is a problem only for the teeming millions of New Yorkers.

Men have always been self-centered, in the slums and in the highrise apartments. No individual can know for sure how he will behave when confronted by a desperate challenge to rescue another human being. He must be able to break through the "shell" that holds people apart. Perhaps the only way to make that exercise easier is to practice small, daily acts of conscious consideration for others. The story of the Good Samaritan is central to the teaching of Christ. It is also, however, the necessary rule of civilization. People cannot survive in our world who will not help each other, will not identify with each others dangers and troubles. The mental hospitals are filled with men and women who feel shut off from contact with their human beings.

The bell that tolled for a murdered girl in Kew Gardens does indeed toll for us all. If we cannot help each other in a moment of desperate need, we are ourselves beyond help. If we must pursue personal security above all other goals, we are doomed. Though overshadowed by the H-bomb, Communist infiltration and subversion, the greatest threat to American Security may yet prove to be the moral decay within. What could be termed a moral decline only a year or two ago has become a plummeting moral descent.

In a report covering the first quarter of the year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation called attention to an "ominous" increase in crimes against the person. The most astonishing statistic was the report that overall violent crime has increased by almost 90% since 1960. In the same period the population increase has only been 10%. Willful killings also were up by an appalling 41% in the same period.

The apparent disintegration of personal morals isn't reflected in crime statistics alone. It is evident in the type of literature, motion pictures and other entertainment the public permits to be distributed and displayed with only an occasional weak protest. It manifests itself in the soaring divorce rate among adults and in the undocumented but nevertheless discernible rise in sexual promiscuity among teenagers.

Any number of factors have contributed to this moral phenomenon, which has gone so rapidly from shocking to downright frightening: the spread of a materialistic philosophy which denies or belittles the spiritual aspect of man's nature; a psychology which holds that man's physical "drives" must be gratified with all expediency if he is to be well adjusted and happy. The only solution is to return to the moral laws of God which hold that right and wrong are not relative values but are definite and unchanging.

People use the term "Great Society" today as though it were an entirely new concept. It isn't! From time to time, all down the ages, strong, ambitious men have tried to bring in an era of peace and prosperity from which all poverty and discontent would be banished. Twenty-five centuries ago Nebuchadnezzar looked upon the capital city of his empire and said, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built?" Daniel 4:30. He had reason to be proud. So prosperous was Babylon that people called it "the golden city". Isaiah 14:4. So strong was it, so well fortified, that it was considered impregnable. Nebuchadnezzar was sure that something so rich, so beautiful, so powerful, must last forever. It didn't. Behind the massive fortifications, the treasuries bursting with gold and silver, the elaborate ‘hanging gardens" and other public works, there lurked crime, cruelty, extortion, injustice, and a hundred other vices, so much so that at the first real test the whole fabric collapsed and "Darius the Median took the kingdom." Daniel 5:31.

Babylon possessed all the outward marks of permanence. Boundless riches. A powerful army. And seemingly impregnable defense system. But it lacked respect for God and those qualities of character He approves. Most Babylonians cared nought for such things. Consequently, their "Great Society" faded into history. Such is the inevitable fate of all efforts to build a "Great Society" without God.

Today a mighty effort is being made to build a society greater than any in the past. Protected by a seemingly impregnable atomic defense system, its sponsors, no doubt with the best of motives, are pouring out astronomical sums of money in the hope of ushering in a period of universal prosperity unparalleled since time began. Billions upon billions are being provided for the aged, the needy, the uneducated. Not since Robin Hood has there been such an elaborate scheme to soak the rich and feed the poor. Never has so much money been scattered in so many directions simultaneously and with such utter recklessness. If a "Great Society" could be built with money, then the dream of the centuries would now be close to realization. Alas, it cannot be. Money may be helpful, but it is not the first or essential requisite.

Most significant is the fact that at the very moment when the most lavish provision was being made by Congress for the aged, the sick, and the needy, a large area in Los Angeles was laid waste by an incredible outburst of wanton rioting, followed by threats of similar violence in other metropolitan areas throughout the country. Equally significant is the fact that in the very year Congress launched the most prodigal spending program in history, America witnessed the most rapid rise in its crime rate. Murder increased 8 percent, forcible rape 21 percent, aggravated assault 17 percent, burglary 12 percent, larceny 13 percent, and auto theft 16 percent. A "Great Society" cannot be built on such rotten foundations, no matter how much money is spent. Bigger parks will not be safer parks; larger pensions will not mean fewer criminals; better-paid people will not necessarily be better people.

It would be well to consider how God is building His "Great Society" which He calls His kingdom. "Except a man be born again," He says, "he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3. That's where God begins. At birth, a spiritual rebirth, a conversion, a totally new way of thinking. That's why God's "Great Society", unlike any that men try to build, will last forever. It will be built on the solid foundation of God-fearing people, on the character of people transformed by His love and power, on men and women who love righteousness and truth and know what it means to walk with God. Long ago King David wrote, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." Psalms 127:1. How true are these words today!

Share a Prayer Request
Ask a Bible Question



Prayer Request:

Share a Prayer Request


Bible Question:

Ask a Bible Question