Beliefnet
Everyday Spirituality

I ponder:

At what point do human beings shift from a loyalty to principle, to a loyalty to a party, or an organization?

At what point does religion stop becoming a pillar of stability, and in turn become a source of division?

At what point does our devotion to God morph into a devotion to a regime or church?

 

Books with quick concordances in the back pages are convenient. The other evening, I wanted to look up a few verses in the Bible about the topic, Peace.

Although not a complete concordance, I indeed captured a profound insight to peace when referring to10 different verses and expanding my reading beyond the verse indexed.

Here is a list of three verses that impressed on me the fact that peace is felt when goodwill toward others is felt.

Numbers 6:26   The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.

Numbers 6:22-26   And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, “This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: The LORD bless you and keep you: The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you: The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.

Ps. 122:6  For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, “Peace be within you.”

Ps. 122:6-8 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. Peace be within you walls, Prosperity within your palaces.’ For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, Peace be within you.

Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!

Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!

It has required a shift in thought to pro-actively praise God by bestowing goodwill on everyone.

 

Religion around the world, though once a pillar of stability, seems to now be a source of division. But, instead of focusing on religion’s bad reputation, we can make an about turn and  focus on God, love. We are not controlled by unwritten human rules, but we are controlled by Life, Truth, and Love.

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Last Sunday afternoon, my husband, Doug, and I decided to pick up litter alongside the highway. We brought along garbage sacks that hold 30 gallons and parked in a parking lot. Getting out of the truck, we headed down the side of the road under sunshine.

We’d talk about our jobs, upcoming projects, and the kids while trying not to make too big a deal out of the surfeit of crap we were picking up: bottles, cans, vehicle mirrors, straws, cushions, a pad, clothing, plastic, wheel rims, candy wrappers, fast food containers, coffee cups and so on. We left the full bags on the side of the road.

After filling 16 bags, plus the 5 gallon bucket we found on the side of the road, we sauntered back to the truck. Doug tells me, “You drive, and I’ll pick up the garbage.” So, we open the side doors and I climb into the driver seat while on the other side Doug looks for a napkin in the truck. Still standing outside, he calmly blows his nose on the napkin and drops it on the ground as if he has been littering his whole life.

I caught a glimpse of the napkin falling to the ground, outside the truck, and could feel my brain trigger outrage, but of course, I know Doug, he doesn’t litter. So, I started laughing and laughing. Finally getting my giggles under control, what do I do?

Doug and the truckload of litter

Doug and the truckload of litter

I ask Doug, “You did pick that napkin up and put it in the truck didn’t you?”

“Yes,” answered Doug.

When laughing, I missed the fact that Doug bent over and picked up the napkin and immediately put it in the truck. Littering goes against our nature so strong that even the joke was unbearable. But, I still am laughing when thinking about Doug’s deadpan facial expression when he pulled the joke. Admittedly, what looks like hilarity at its finest to me, may seem really boring, but this is the kind of stuff Doug and I do when we get a few minutes away from work.

It’s interesting: The human mind can jump so quickly to a wrong conclusion. I remind myself today, just because we picked up a horrendous amount of garbage doesn’t mean everyone litters. I must keep the Godlike view before me.