A Code You Can Live By


Gibb’s rules: One of my favorite parts of NCIS although I don’t necessarily agree with all of them.

Do you know Gibb’s rules? If you watch NCIS, you know Leroy Jethro Gibbs has rules for life. The characters always wonder and ask where he gets his rules, but he never answers them. Then in an episode he flashes back to the first time he meets his now deceased wife and the viewer realizes the rules came from her. “Everyone needs a code they can live by,” she tells him.

Lately, I’ve been reminding myself of several things. Let’s face it. Life is complicated and our insecure minds can read into things that just aren’t there. So I’ve been making my own code of sorts.

Don’t Compare

1. Don’t compare yourself to others.

God didn’t create us to be exactly like anyone else so why do we constantly feel the need to compare ourselves to others? There are a thousand quotes I could share about the comparison trap. And that’s what it is. A trap.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. – John 10:10

The enemy wants nothing more than for us to become discouraged and steal our joy by comparing ourselves to others so we can’t fulfill the purpose God has for us.

Assume Nothing

2. Don’t assume anything.

It’s so easy to read something on social media and assume the friend on Facebook is talking about us or assume we know who that tweet or blog is referring to when in reality we are not inside a person’s mind and we aren’t there in person to understand their tone or body language. Really, just don’t make assumptions. We all type before we think without realizing how those words may sound or come across, but it’s still better not to assume we know what the person is thinking or what they may be experiencing.

As one of my mass communications professors always said, “If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it might not be a duck.” It was his reminder to not always believe what’s on the surface, to dig deeper and get all sides. In other words not to assume we have all the information.

You Aren’t the Holy Spirit

3. We aren’t another person’s Holy Spirit.

Joy Bennett said this in a post at one time, and it has stuck with me. I admit I can be critical. Every time I see someone share something from certain well known names I want to ask them how they can be influenced by that person. Yes there are times when we should share the truth in love, but we need to be close enough to that person and have their permission to speak into their life in that way. There will be times as a leader you have to confront something. In most of life though we do not need be the avenue of a guilt trip and point out to a person how they messed up or argue that our view is better or right.

Avoid Generalizations

4. Don’t make generalizations.

Making a sweeping generalization does nothing to build anyone up. It only serves to tear people down and fails to acknowledge the uniqueness of each person.

So these are a few of my own rules I’m learning to live by. What are some of your own?