Thursday, February 16, 2017

Goodness and Mercy

Recently, I was reflecting on the challenge of maintaining a positive attitude in light of difficulties.   Sometimes all the struggles--and evil--of the world can wear on even the most devoted optimists. And sometimes, simple determination to be happy in itself cannot dispel the tenebrous foes of peace in one's soul.
Romans 12:21 came to mind, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."  Generally, I have categorized this verse with verses about loving enemies and doing good to those who hate you--rather reactionary, defensive advice to avoid being overtaken by the attrition of evil.

I realize I need to move that verse into a new category of offensive tactics.  For every setback, evil, or unkindness I encounter, I should not just react calmly to that situation without hate, but fight back on the other side of the board with a commensurate attack of goodness and kindness in unrelated situations to brighten the lives of others.
The Psalmist said, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."  He was claiming God's blessing on his life, true, but it seems he also believed in leaving a trail of God's goodness and mercy behind him.
"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts."  --Colossians 3:15

31 comments:

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for stopping by!

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  2. So very true, Bethany. Last night my granddaughter was telling me about some girls that are unkind to her. She is an easy target because she is quiet and sweet and the boys at school "like her"...which makes other girls jealous. I told her to just keep being kind -that she should understand they come from places where they are not happy with themselves and so take it out on others. Easier said than done, I know. We also discussed the meaning of "avoid the appearance of evil"...she did not really understand what that meant...but she does now.
    Loved this post, Bethany. xo Diana

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    1. Ah! That is too bad the other girls are unkind to her. From what you post on your blog, your grandchildren seem to be the sweetest. Hope it all works out for her.

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  3. Sometimes a good long step within, and a little unplugged time goes a looooong way.

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    1. Sometimes we need to take some time for reflection. Psalm 4:4 comes to mind, "Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still." Another version translates this as, "Don't sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent."

      I think if people pondered their actions more, we'd have a lot less trouble, and a lot less bad decisions in the world. Of course, on the other hand, we might have a lot more indecisiveness... ;)

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    2. I cannot imagine what the world would be like if everyone thought and took the time to relax before speaking. Or, didn't speak in anger.

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    3. I'm pretty sure it would be a better place. :)

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  4. Thank you for this, Bethany. You brought out some wonderful thoughts here...I love that verse, too. God bless you, my friend. :)

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  5. You have the right attitude, Bethany. It takes a conscious effort sometimes to maintain your cool and stay positive, but it's worth it. We can't control what other people say or do, but we can control how we react to it.

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    1. Well stated. Whenever I'm tempted to be upset or offended, I ask myself whether it's really worth it. In most cases I decide that I'd never want to give that much importance to anything distasteful. The ultimate insult to an insult is often disregard. I have so much in my life to make me happy, why should I let little things bother me?

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  6. We have to call upon our reserves of strength at times...and yes, faith definitely helps with that!

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    1. It's reassuring that God's strength can be made perfect in our weakness.

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  7. Hi Bethany, This post is a great example of why I love Today Liberty or Death. You seem to have a sixth sense about when to post something uplifting like this. I do appreciate it and thank you. Blessings to you. Have a great weekend!

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    1. You too, John. Glad you enjoyed the post. God bless.

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  8. Thank you for sharing this encouragement from the Word. May we never grow weary in doing good! I pray the Lord will strengthen you and give you joy in whatever trials you are facing.

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  9. I listened the song and I liked it. Mercy is all in our lives. I agree with your attitude of reaction. Thanks for sharing the video and your thoughts.

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    1. That is the Mississippi, looking from Dubuque, Iowa into Illinois.

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  11. I'm so very sorry you are encountering this. I know all of us do from time to time, but it does hurt. I'm so glad that we do have God and we do have other Christians who (most of the time) are understanding.

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    1. I actually don't feel like I have a care in the world right now. I wrote this at a time I was struggling. But I delayed posting till I was fully back to my happy, optimistic self. Of course, I could read some news articles if I particularly felt like getting depressed (and motivated to add more value to this world). :D

      It's good to know people like you, Christine!

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  12. I like this Bethany! I try to be an optimist but more often I get overwhelmed by the evil and in the world and find myself depressed. I have never thought about the counterattack tactic that you suggested but that seems Biblical and wise to me! Thank so much for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for visiting, Arnica! Keep on the sunny side! :)

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  13. Kill 'em with kindness, Bethany!

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    1. Heh! Good one, Margie. I do like that one Bible verse that says, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

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  14. I want to leave a lot of happy tracks...especially after listening to that great song! Thanks for cheering us on, Bethany!

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