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Three Simple Rules

The founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley, provided three simple rules for Christians meant to be our way of living as we seek the sanctifying grace that leads to holiness. These rules sound easy, but in practice are far more difficult to follow in our daily lives. The rules are "Do no harm", "Do Good", and "Stay in Love with God". These rules should be a litmus test for everything we do in our local churches, in our community, in our family and in the world. They should extend to our politics, our financial decisions, and our relationships. How do we begin to see the ways to live these principles more completely, as we build the kingdom of God on earth?

Doing no harm is not limited to our individual actions and decisions. It is not enough to end each day by saying "well, I didn't say or do anything bad to anyone." The reason this is true is because apathy and inaction are two of the ways we cause the most harm in society. People are suffering, people are hurting, and we pass by others every day without so much as a glance their way or a consideration for who they are and how we can seek to do good for them. Additionally, when we vote in elections, or shop at stores, or set our schedules, we make decisions that can cause great harm to others in ways we neither pay attention to or want to accept responsibility for. Many companies we buy from exploit children and impoverished people in third world countries, all to save us some money on our purchases. Many political positions, such as the current immigration crisis at the US border, form because we vote for other issues we think are important, but don't pay attention to or speak out against these issues from the same politicians we put our trust in. Both sides of the political aisle are guilty of this, and voters from both sides need to acknowledge their complicity in the potential harm that is caused when we vote.

In order to do good, we can't just accept that the absence of harm in our daily lives means we've done good. We need to be proactive in carrying out good deeds. We need to visit the sick, care for orphans (even immigrant ones), love our neighbor actively, and engage with others by sharing the love of Christ with our hands and hearts. Doing good and being good are two different things, and we are called to acts of mercy in the world that build up the world and make it a better place. We do this because of the third rule, which is to "Stay in love with God".

Once again, staying in love with God calls for us to renew our acts of love towards God throughout our lives. This calls for regular worship of God in church and in our daily lives. We should pray regularly, turn to scripture, give of our first fruits of time and money, and focus on who God is calling us to be and how God is calling us to use our gifts. This is a call for regular activity. We don't display a constant love for people in our lives by calling them once a year or visiting them every couple of years. We show a constant love for others by showing them love regularly, and so it is with God.

How are you living out these three "simple" rules? Are you seeking ways to reduce the harm caused on people in your lives, your family and this world? Are you actively doing good works that reflect the light of Christ in your life? And are you finding ways each day to show God that you love our creator and want nothing more than to live in the light of God we are blessed to know? Find a way to live out these rules in more intentional ways, and you'll discover that your life and the lives of people around you will be more deeply blessed.

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