Summary: Based upon the book "Three Simple Rules" "A Wesley Way of Living" by Rueben P. Job. This third in a multi part series continues and concludes our examination of the first of the three rules. "Do No Harm." Sounds simple, easy to understand, hard to prac
Three Simple Rules
A Wesleyan Way of Living
Based on the book of the same name by Ruben P. Job
REVIEW OF LAST WEEK
We are exploring John Wesley’s “Three Simple Rules” Do no harm, Do Good and Stay in love with God.
Last week we began with “Do no Harm.”
We remembered the response of Jesus when asked which commandment was the most important, “you shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, and with all you soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”…There is not other commandment greater than these.”
We acknowledged that when we agree not to harm those with whom we disagree, then…conversation, dialogue, and discovery of new insight become possible…
When we guard our lives and actions by this first simple rule…we discover time and space to think about consequences before we speak a word, or take any action
(REVIEW THE BULLET ANALOGY)
We began to acknowledge what we all really knew inside, but somehow, too often forget. That if all who are involved can agree to do no harm, the climate surrounding the conflict is immediately changed! I can no longer gossip about the conflict. I can no longer speak disparagingly... or judgmentally 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.”
REVIEW…The “Dirty Brick” rule @ Summer Games… the results…the comments of the campers. (It really did make a difference!) How it applies to our daily lives as adults….as Christians…. As Disciples.
We discover other positive things as well when we truly undertake the act of disarming, laying aside our weapons and desire to do no harm. We find ourselves standing on common ground, inhabiting a common and precious space, sharing a common faith, and having an equal measure of Gods unlimited love.
When I determine to do you no harm, I lose my fear of you; and I can see you and hear you more clearly. Removing the possibility to do no harm, we find that good, solid place to stand where together we can seek the way forward in faithfulness to God.
When we fail to take this first step, it’s usually not because we don’t understand or because it is too simple. Instead, I find, perhaps you also, it demands too much self-discipline and very deep faith that God will empower and lead us when we are faithful to Him, when we trust Him.
If this step is so simple and easily understood, when then do so many do so much harm? Why do we sometimes fail to recognize and follow the power of this simple rule?
Perhaps it is because in truth, it is not such an easy rule; it demands a radical trust in God’s presence, power, wisdom and guidance and a radical obedience to God’s leadership. Practicing our faith in the world, walking the walk, not merely talking the talk, requires our deepest resolve, our greatest faith, our unwavering trust, and a very large measure of God’s grace.
Another possible reason is that we’ve bound ourselves to a certain ideology or theology rather than binding ourselves to Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord of all. Perhaps we have convinced ourselves that our way is the right and only way… and as such, we can’t consider that God’s way could be different from our own. When caught in this kind of trap, we may loose sight that these kinds of actions and thoughts are more of the world than of God.
To abandon the way of the world and follow the way of Jesus is a bold move, requiring honest, careful and prayerful consideration. This is not a decision without cost or consequences. Jesus Himself tells us to consider carefully the cost of discipleship:
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. Lk 14:26-33