In his book Running with the Giants, John Maxwell tells of a new pastor who shared the following eight rules with his congregation: (1) If you’ve a problem with me, come and see me privately. I’ll do the same for you. (2) If someone else has a problem with me and comes to you, send them to me. I’ll do the same. (3) If someone won’t come to me, say, ‘Let’s go see him together.’ I’ll do the same. (4) Be careful how you interpret me—I’d rather do that. It’s too easy to misinterpret intentions. I’ll also be careful how I interpret you. (5) If it’s confidential, don’t tell. If you or anyone else comes to me in confidence, I won’t tell, unless they’re going to harm themselves, harm someone else, or a child has been physically or sexually abused. I expect the same from you. (6) I don’t read unsigned letters. (7) I don’t manipulate. I won’t be manipulated. Don’t let others manipulate you. And don’t let others try to manipulate me through you. (8) When in doubt, just say so. If I can answer without misrepresenting something or breaking a confidence, I will.
Those eight rules can be reduced to the one Golden Rule: ‘Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.’ Good marriages, business relationships and friendships are based on the Golden Rule Jesus gave us.
One final thought: ‘Abstain from every form of evil.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:22 NKJV) If people could construe that you’re taking advantage of them even after you’ve had a chance to explain your motives, you may need to rethink your idea.