First Do No Harm?
First Do no harm all the good you can!
I understand the “first do no harm” maximum in the medical world – I’ll be grateful if the surgeon avoids the temptation to try a gung-ho move at my expense – but as an anthem for life, it’s a minimalist tactic at best, a survival instinct at worst.
Most religions teach some version of what is called the Golden Rule and most state it in a negative, defensive way. The first-century Jews, for example, taught: “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want them to do to you”. If you don’t want others to defraud you, don’t defraud them. Do no harm. Yes, great advice for sure; but really a basic expression of self-protective, “minimum standard” on-the-back-foot morality.
Our modern society, turning a deaf ear to even this, has completely reinvented the Golden Rule; restating this ideal into a twisted anthem that goes something like: He who has the gold makes the rules. And for those without any gold, the law of the jungle rumbles like this: Do one to others before they do one to you! But the Master repositioned the Golden Rule putting the onus on us to be radical doers of good. He taught: “whatever you want men to do for you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12). In other words, get on the front foot.
How would you like to be treated? Treat men likewise. You want respect? Respect others. Do you deserve to be heard, your point of view considered, your contributions valued and your effort rewarded? Yes? Then do unto others. Create a better world by being a better person; ignite a chain reaction of good actions; set in motion a string of amazing events. Believe the best about others and serve them towards that higher plane.
Do all the good you can!