Sunday, July 25, 2004

Thoughts on Thy Will Be Done 


God’s will for us, as I understand it, is that we learn to choose the good. Learn. The process includes a lot of choosing what’s not so good and learning from the experience. We can also learn from observing the experience of other folks. History, for example, of which the Bible is full, can help.

Seems to me that a lot of folks think choosing the good is about manipulating themselves (and us) so we can all feel loved or loving. Some folks think it’s about finding a fellow human being to serve as an object of charity and choosing to do good things to or for them, like the proverbial boy scout who takes the little old lady across the street she never dreamed of crossing in the first place. Don’t you think that God, if he has any sense at all, must prefer that our goodness consist, not in fooling others or ourselves with postures or attitudes or superfluous tasks but in the fundamental way we choose to live out our lives on this earth?

If that’s the way it is, then we wouldn’t take some of the earnings from our pizza parlor and give it to the heart association, would we? We wouldn’t buy up most of the low cost housing in our city and give some of the profits to a shelter for the homeless. We would consider the larger consequences of our most basic activities, not just for other people but for the earth as well. We would be fundamentally fair and honest. Our customers/merchants would also be our friends. We would think in terms of the common good. We would take what we need and leave the rest for someone else - not just as it relates to material goods, but also psychologically – refraining from behavior that could gain us the affection, time, and attention that should belong to someone else – a spouse, a parent, a child. We would live considerately rather than competitively.

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