One of the promises that doctors make as part of the Hippocratic Oath is to “do no harm”. And every level of society would do well to abide by this in our lives — to not trade someone else’s harm for our own improved well being, etc. But business goals, personal desires and all kinds of things can create conflict with this relatively low bar of “do no harm”.
I say “relatively low” because we can probably realize that “do no harm to anyone” is slightly lower “do good to everyone” — and we might even realize there is another difference between just “doing good” to someone versus “being a blessing”.
So then, while we [as individual believers] have the opportunity, let us do good to all people [not only being helpful, but also doing that which promotes their spiritual well-being], and especially [be a blessing] to those of the household of faith (born-again believers).
Galatians 6:10 AMP
In our daily lives, in our workplaces, within our families, within the challenges and struggles of any given day, we can probably get real and admit that there are times that we’ve either “done harm” or at least wanted to do harm to others. That person that cut you off in traffic. That person who disagreed with you on social media. That person who opposed you at work. That person who said offe did something that offended you. That opportunity to advance your own prose or goal by manipulating or taking advantage of someone else.
Many might say, “That is just business” or “survival of ther fittest” or many other things to clearly illustrate that their own life goal is not to “do no harm”. In fact, the reality of how often and how easily people choose to do harm to others for personal gain should be easy for our minds to comprehend, because we have done it ourselves. So if we have fallen short of the “reality” of “do no harm” — many would say it is pointless or useless to discuss such lofty ideals as “do good to all” or “be a blessing” many would say that all things that appear as good or blessing are still somehow rooted in an “angle”, a “manipulation”, a “strategy”.
For example, people might see charitable people or organizations who don’t truly believe in or live out the “do no harm” in their lives or business practices — and assume that these are financial maneuverings in order to get themselves into a better tax bracket or to gain influence and positive publicity within the marketplace. Or they might see church people who do all kinds of religious things regularly that conflict with how they treat others — and assume that these are trying to “buy their way into heaven”, etc. And isn’t this what all of us look like when we have our good intentions trying to cover up and hide on the outside our selfish motivations and desires that are hungry on the inside?
Flipping through the channels recently, I heard Andy Stanley talking about the “real” versus the “ideal” when discussing foster children that had never seen a stable home environment. He shared how one in particular said that he didn’t even know that it was possible until he saw it — and then that was the goal he set for himself to provide for his family one day.
I also heard a story shared recently by a branch manager where I work about an opportunity to open a home equity line of credit at low interest to rescue a family that was trapped under almost 100k in high interest 35+% debt. They were paying over $33,000 in interest alone each year and it was crushing them. And until someone showed them a different way, they were slaves to a hard lender that was arguably doing them harm. Now, a new lender comes along, looking to help them improve their situation, not just looking to sign them up for a profitable loan. Things like this can change trajectories for families. I know what Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University did for us once we saw that it was actually possible.
Seeing the ideal in God come in the flesh as a little Jewish baby to dwell amongst us had opened a gate for us to walk through and follow. And in following Him, we can not only easily achieve those low hanging bars that once seemed so high, we can reach for ther brightest star.
Merry Christmas, beloved. Come see the babe born in a manger, Emmanuel, God with us. Amen.