Do no harm

“Practice two things in your dealings with disease: either help or do not harm the patient”   ~Hippocrates

A phrase that is commonly taken as an oath by physicians when dealing with hurts and disease in the body.   And yet, when we are asked how to deal with the hurts of the heart, we do not always stop to look at our ethics in quite the same way.

We are studying a series in church currently that is asking us to really reflect on where our hearts are.   And the question arose today whether we act out of ego or empathy.  This stirred something pretty profound in me.

I would like to think that I am a person who wants to always act out of empathy.  Who sees the hurt in others and has a deep ache to ease that in any way at all possible.  But somewhere along life’s path, after many hurts and harm done to me, I have found my heart hardened.  I am not sure of the exact moment that it happened, but I have found myself lost on a path I never envisioned I would go down.

I find myself seeking gratification for my life and what I feel I deserve more than I am concerned about how this will affect others.  And most importantly, how this will fit into the grand scheme of God’s plan.  I react quickly, and I am not taking time to really reflect on the impact my words and decisions may have on others.  I am now facing a reality that is pretty tough to swallow.

I am doing harm.

Having lived a journey where so many things were taken from me so early, it is hard not to fall into the trap of entitlement.  I feel as though I have put in my time and I deserve to be happy.

But at what cost?

Every single second of our time on this earth is calculated to serve a purpose in painting this elaborate, beautiful picture that God has planned.  And I have 2 choices.  I can help with this plan or I need to step out of the way so I do no harm.

My selfish desires may not be the right plan for God’s will in my life.  But something I have not stopped to think about until today–my selfish desires may be derailing somebody else from being on the right path that God has planned for their lives.

So how do we distinguish when to step forward and when to get out of the way?

Prayer.

I have seen it personally in my life over and over again.  Anytime I let go and ask God to remove things from my life that are not His will, He does.  And typically very quickly, even before I was actually ready to let it go.

My prayer is changing a little today.  I do not want to be a person that stands in the way of God’s will–whether it’s in my life or another’s.  I am praying for a heart that is walking in obedience–whatever that may be.  And that God will continue to soften and mold my heart to be a person that thinks of how my actions impact others before I worry about the effect the situation has on me.

So thankful for a God who loves me enough to constantly challenge my heart.  As hard as the molding and shaping can be, I am thankful for the beauty that always shows itself in the end.

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