"Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people." Col. 3:12-15 CEB
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, had three general or simple rules for life, taken from his interpretations of Scripture. They are:
“Do no harm, Do good, Stay in love with God.” All the rules seem like no-brainers, common-sense, who-could-disagree-with-these statements. Especially the first one. We all learned this as kids. I guess it is true that everything we always needed to know, we learned in kindergarten.
The “Do no harm” rule is quite challenging. “Do no harm” is painless when we are talking about our friends and family. Yet, this “Do no harm” rule challenges us to look at how we are dealing with conflict in our lives. Retired UM Bishop Reuben Job wrote a book in 2007 based on Wesley’s rules titled “Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living.” Here is what Job writes concerning conflict when looking through the lens of “Do no harm”:
“If ... all who are involved [in the conflict] can agree to do no harm, the climate in which the conflict is going on is immediately changed. How is it changed? Well, if I am to do no harm, I can no longer gossip about the conflict. I can no longer speak disparagingly about those involved in the conflict. I can no longer manipulate the facts of the conflict. I can no longer diminish those who do not agree with me and must honor each as a child of God. I will guard my lips, my mind and my heart so that my language will not disparage, injure, or wound another child of God. I must do no harm, even while I seek a common good.”
We need to hear and live out these words now more than ever. Do no harm. Makes you appreciate John Wesley even more as one who followed the example of Christ.