The first principle of the Hippocratic Oath is “do no harm.” That is the standard by which our physicians are judged. But Christians are held to an even higher standard.
“Do good to all … especially those of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). You would think Paul’s exhortation unnecessary. Jesus equated “love of God” and “neighbor love” as the summary of the greatest commandments. John, the beloved apostle not only quotes Jesus’ words shared in the shadow of impending crucifixion, “By this all will know that you are my disciples, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34-35) but goes on to say in his later epistle that if we fail to love one another we can’t claim to love God, (1 John 4:20).
Love is so easily sentimentalized and trivialized that Paul’s practical word, “do good” may be more helpful. The “good” Paul has in mind is that which builds up, encourages and helps us become all God has called us to be.
Sometimes in our busyness of serving God we forget to treat each other as if we were responding to Christ. This can be especially true of those outside our immediate circle of friends.
Yet if we are children of God, and brothers and sisters in Christ, then our responses to one another should reflect the way we would treat the Lord Jesus Himself, as if He were among us. Indeed, He is among us in the manifestation of His body, the Church. Christ is among us in one another.
Anytime we are rude, abrupt, condescending, or judgmental toward a brother or sister in Christ we are, in fact, responding to Christ himself.
If we cannot see Christ in our brothers and sisters in Christ, certainly no one is seeing Christ in us.
To be sure, we also must learn to respond to the “little hurts” of life with the spirit of the Christ who forgave those who crucified Him. Even at their worst, the indignities we sometimes visit upon one another in haste and anger are in no measure comparable to Christ’s suffering and sacrifice for all of us.
No one controls their speech at all times (James 3), but that does not excuse or justify intemperate words. There is no place for rash or rude speech toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. We should seek to avoid expressing it and refuse to listen to it when expressed by others.
We are held to a higher standard. More than “do no harm” we are challenged to “do good” to all – in word and deed. Perhaps this might be a good place to start putting our faith into practice in 2008.

Share This On: