Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Contentment in a Sin Cursed World

Photo credit: Selfie by exfordy

A child dies of hunger every few seconds and I am content.

The sentence shocks because contentment is misunderstood to be complacency. Complacency means being unmoved when evil is revealed. Sadly, it is far too easy for me to be complacent. I pray to God for compassion. I want to overcome evil. I do not seek to be complacent.

I am content when I am satisfied with what I have. I am complacent when I am satisfied with what others have.

I want every person on the planet to have wholesome food and water. I pray that they will have comfortable clothing and shelter. I long for peace and joy in every life.

I know I am content when I am thankful for the many good things in my life. I know I am complacent when I make no effort to help others enjoy good things.

Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor is a flawed notion. It depends too much on the thief's ability to discern how material wealth would be best distributed. Even a democratic approach to taking from the wealthy requires that the majority have a clear vision of who deserves what they have and who does not. It is all too easy for each of us to decide that what we have is "about right" and that if others have much more, they are rich. Furthermore, this sort of redistribution is focused on material goods. Those goods are necessary but never sufficient.

Giving is far more powerful than taking. I can give material goods. I can also give affection and encouragement. I can show patience and forgiveness. In short, I can love. Love conquers all.

I must not live my life insisting that others love more. Rather, I must realize that I do not love as I could. I can always give more. I can be more patient. I can forgive more readily.

God is love. I must seek to know God better so that I can love more and be content with less.

I have much to learn and much to do. May God grant me wisdom and strength.
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