In short, the Iron Rule is about might. Bigger and stronger rules over smaller and weaker. The Silver Rule is a negative principle. It says, "Do not do unto others what you would not want them to do to you." It operates on the principle of reciprocity, and is the basis for much of the law in our society.
The Iron Rule can keep people in bondage. The Silver Rule is a step up because it at least says that we should not enslave others. However, neither of these rules prompt us to "set the captives free" if there is no harm to us.
The Golden Rule is set apart as a positively stated directive. It tells each of us to do to/for others what we would want done to/for us. Jesus issues the Golden Rule to dictate how we live because it is the rule of Love, not the rule of law. Ultimately, it requires His divine love to set people free, spiritually and physically.
This concept of the "three rules" ties in directly with the issues related to modern day slavery because it is hard to see that we are in any way complicit in the problem. We are distanced from the anguish of human trafficking and forced labor by supply chains, business practices, policies, underground activities (even in our own backyard), and other factors.
I know I am.
Sometimes, it makes doing the right thing even more challenging.
It is so uncomfortable. It is so inconvenient.
It is so Jesus.
So, I pray that it will become so me.