Most of the medical community, and those of us who are trained in even the basics, know that the Hippocratic Oath begins with the phrase,
"First, do no harm."
It's the stepping stone of medicine, both ancient and modern. Our opening line is the simple instruction to do good, not evil.
I recently sat with a friend of mine who is far from God. She believes He probably exists, but openly states that He has no place in her life. During our conversation she said to me, "You cannot measure the good that religion has done. You can easily measure the harm: the wars, the gossip, the hypocrisy. But you cannot quantify the good."
Certainly, I could argue this point. In that moment, with that friend, I did not. I simply let settle the clear perception from this modern woman that knowing God brings more harm than anything else.
This is our world. We speak to a generation of men and women who have been burned by church, embittered by politics, antagonized by moralism, disgusted with corruption. They've seen scandals and disappointments, watched prayer used as a bribe and Bible verses used as trinkets. Cheap grace has cheapened their experience of Christ and caused harm.
What then is our response?
Mine is very simple.
Live with faithfulness. Seek greater grace. Apologize for the wrongs you did not choose. Allow the incarnational Christ, who lived the life we could not live and died the death we could not die, to speak for Himself. Pursue the Gospel. Preach it to myself before I preach it to others. Love.
Even by accident, we harm others. Even with the best intentions, we experience and cause suffering. I was recently arrested by the clarity of this quote:
"What if in this new year we focused more on Jesus' wounds and less on our own? They're both real but only His can heal."
The answer is and always will be Jesus.
Don't look at the things done in His name. Look to Jesus. Don't look at the ways our wounded world causes new wounds. Seek the ways He invites us to true healing. Don't dwell on the discouragement and disappointment. Instead, "dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness." (Psalm 37:3)
The only generation we live with is our own. Our decisions can shape far beyond the one in which we live. May we be a generation who leaves behind a legacy of radical, faithful love for Jesus. Loving Him...does no harm.