How to live
Monday, March 13, 2006
"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
"Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
"Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
When I live out of these directives, even a little bit, I am a happy person. My contentment does not arise from any of the circumstances of my life, but only from the decisions I make, from the actions I take, and from the sense that what I give is being multiplied and given back to me.
On the occasions when this doesn't seem to be happening, I always have a choice to make. Jesus had the same choice. Do I obey God again tomorrow?
I know some people who live this way. I hope you do too. They are a joy to be around. They don't take advantage of me ... ever. And though they themselves might be taken advantage of, they seem to recover quickly and continue on this path of generosity, mercy and acceptance.
Who wouldn't want to live like this?
Apparently, lots of us. We are poisoned in various ways: by defects we are born with, by our family's habits, by great suffering that we interpret as rejection or punishment, by evil actions taken against us by our partners, children, friends ...
And the poisoning can drive me to choose not to obey God tomorrow. I would rather be alone. I would rather be jealous and bitter. I would rather get sick and tired. I'd rather complain, and then fill up my life with food and drink and titillating adrenalin rushes. And I guess I'd rather die with empty tearless eyes and hollow words of farewell to people that I hate.
I don't want to ever make that choice. I want to be merciful, forgiving and generous, and free my life from judgment and condemnation. I want to avoid bitterness and its results. God help me.
Lord, your path is the only path to joy and peace. There are no others. None. Thank you for showing the way, and for carrying me so often down your road.