Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Hippocratic Oath for physicians was written in the Fifth Century B.C.  The second line and the first describing rules for the profession:  "I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone."  (emphasis added)
In 1964, over two thousand five hundred years later, the oath was rewritten and "do no harm" was removed.  The line " Above all, I must not play at God" was added.  Hardly seems that line is used much today.  Today's oath reads like a waiver of release from responsibility.  In the 1700's, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism wrote what he called three simple rules for Christian living.  The first was "Do no harm."  The second was "Do good."  The third was "Stay in love with God."   I wonder what life would be like if we all adopted just the "Do no harm" rule.   The two others are of great benefit as well, but I wish I had lived all of my life and not only the last few decades following that first rule.  "Do no harm" was at the core of the message of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  If we all lived by "Do no harm", would those coaches and officials at Penn State be suffering as it is?   Would the Catholic Church have had to pay millions to the families of damaged children for the actions of some of its priests and bishops?  And I don't mean to single out the Catholic church.  How many would not have died in the name of God by Protestants and Muslims alike if that rule had been followed throughout history?  How many wars would not have been fought?  Would the recent economic collapse in the U.S. and the world have happened had those in power lived by those three words?  How many bullied people would not have sought suicide or worse?  How many children would not have died of starvation?  Our doctors no longer say those words and many of our clergy certainly ignore them.  If you read this, would you at least think about living by those three words?  They should be a mantra for every missionary.  They are for us. 
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