Rules of a Godly Life is a devotional found among Amish. It’s a small booklet consisting of three parts. You can access it in its entirety here, where it was included to accompany the PBS Amish film. You can also get it at places like Gordonville Book Store or Raber’s in Ohio for a dollar or two. The PBS site describes it as such:
“Rules of a Godly Life” is a popular Pietist devotional source for the Amish. Comprised of 47 proverbs, this text was originally written in the early 18th century by a non-Amish author. The proverbs are intended to guide the Amish on how to center their daily life on God through their everyday thoughts, words, and deeds. This includes what one’s mind should focus on when waking up and going to sleep, and how to conduct yourself when interacting with others during the day, all in order to maintain God’s focus in all that you do and live in accordance to the Bible.
I thought I might share one here. Here is rule #6 from Part II-“Words”:
Do not speak evil of friends; rather, speak well of them wherein they deserve praise. What is not praiseworthy keep to yourself. Slanderings and scornful gossip are poison to any friendship. If you are present when others speak disrespectfully of one who is absent, search first your own heart before joining in; without doubt you will find there the same (or greater) shortcomings. This should move you to better yourself, and yet keep you from speaking evil of others and belittling them.
The obvious message here, speaking well of others or not speaking at all, is one I’m sure I could use help on from time to time.
I also appreciate the less-obvious point: speak well of friends “wherein they deserve praise”. Is overpraise or false praise as bad as slander and gossip?