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Rules to Live By

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.

-Colossians 3:13 CEB

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, wrote about "Three Simple Rules," or the "Three General Rules" for living a Christian life. The late United Methodist Bishop Reuben Job wrote a book on these three rules, and he summarized them as this… “Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.”

The three rules are indeed very simple and are taken from John Wesley’s interpretations of Scripture. All the rules seemed like no-brainer, common-sense, who-could-disagree-with-these statements. Yet the rule of “Do no harm” is what we truly need to grasp in our society today, where there is so much division and discord. It challenges us to look at this rule when dealing with conflict in our lives.

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.”

Do no harm. Not as easy as it sounds. Makes you appreciate John Wesley even more as one who followed the example of Christ.


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