Three Simple Rules: Do No Harm

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, crafted three simple guides for Christian living. In Methodism, they became known as The General Rules.

Blank Chalkboard-horizontalThe first rule simply states: “Do no harm.” This is the Christian ethic in the negative—we are told what NOT to do. The Silver Rule states: “Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.”

In the Hippocratic Oath, doctors swear to practice this principle: “First, do no harm.” Sometimes doing nothing is a creative act—or at least not a destructive one.

Centuries later a Methodist evangelist named Sam Jones paraphrased Wesley’s First Rule to simple say: “Quit your meanness!”

How would our lives change if we followed this simple rule? What would it look like to “do no harm” and “quit our meanness?”

So here’s your homework. This week make the First Rule your mantra. Repeat it time and again to yourself. Find ways to do no harm to yourself and others around you.

Next week we consider Wesley’s second rule: “Do good.”

1 thought on “Three Simple Rules: Do No Harm

  1. This is brilliant in its simplicity and something I can ponder without giving me a headache! I look forward to being mindful of this as I go through my days and week. I’d never heard of the Silver Rule but as always, you point out new and interesting things. Thanks for this.


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