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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Resolving Differences Separating Collective Joy

Just how do two people — entwined by God — reconcile the enormous chasm that divides many once-good marriages?

It’s a question many are forced to ask. This article is no one-stop-shop on a road to restoration. It can, however, be a detour to deeper insight, a minnow of a step along the way.

It can only cost a minute or so...

First, let’s understand — there’s no sign of abuse or neglect here. It’s just a deeply worn rut both find themselves in.

Fear is a Vessel Seemingly Taking No Prisoners

When we’re swept out to sea on the rip of fear, the ebbing-flowing tide but a distant memory of genial times, there’s the earnestness of a threat compelling us to take note. We’re not waving, we’re drowning!

It consumes our focus, and fear spawns, as we notice with deathly significance deeds of theirs previously passed over. Benefits of the doubt are now no longer.

Where did our grace go?

Suddenly we’re living in a world of self-condemnation — “How can I think such things?” We’re merely falling into the cesspool of hellish escape — a place we never contemplated might exist for us. But now it’s here, showing in a theatre right in the middle of town!

Calling Fear for What It Is

Fear is a tyrant with few mercies of design. She takes no prisoners and will not be left wanting.

But she just as easily runs away at the right insistence. This is not a controlling aggression, or a vacuous bluff, but a forthright mounting courage to be true in the persistent realm of truth.

This partner of ours is probably desperate in their want of the relationship — just like we may be. With significance of effort there’s evidence of commitment — a love that will just not go away!

Distracting the Focus from Fear Onto Victory; That Which’s Coming

Such forthrightness — and at a means, together — is the will to get through this period, for whatever reason it comes, so the best of times can be enjoyed later.

Times of dissonance, anxiety and fear for what is ‘now lost’ are countered by a change of focus, by one or both partners, and certainly by those afflicted with fear for the relationship’s demise.

The focus sways from stories of tragic break-ups, messy divorces, and children’s lives wrecked because of them, to stories of victory against the odds. These are the victories of grittily hanging in there... through thick and thin, one day at a time until the tunnel’s light beckons resplendently through at the other side.

Both views are equally real; the positive more worthy than the negative.

One is attached to death, the other, life.

The real victory is the commitment of two people to stay when it would be understandable, or at least easier, to leave. It’s the fact that a risky choice is made — against the temporal forlornness of joy — to endure. The gospel secret is lived. Blessed doubly are the couple in Job-chapter-42 fashion, eventually.

We can just imagine the depth of trust, and the wealth of respect, that’s forged from such a collective modus operandi. But not fully until the other side’s reached and well past.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

The 5 Whys – ‘Explanations’ of Our Humanity

“A motive in the human heart is like deep water, and a person who has understanding draws it out.”

~Proverbs 20:5 (GW).

A key biblical principle — the workings of the human heart — one interrogated in Proverbs — joins with the “5 Whys” which fully explored reveal the real causes of events, and the human motives behind them, for so often we think we know why things happen, but mostly it’s guesswork.

Behind the apparent reason for why things are done is — notionally, five layers deeper — the real reason.

The Hidden Depth of the Human Heart

For a great number of reasons we conceal the reason we do many things; sometimes to prevent embarrassment, chiefly for self-protection... always for perceived gain.

This is the default. It’s not the way we have to operate, but it’s the natural way we prefer to operate. It’s instinct.

There are many reasons why we obscure our motives. What’s best to understand is not why we do this, but just the fact that it happens and it’s a truth of humanity that we must accept.

What This Means for Our Relationships

We can never safely assume we know why people do things.

The better we know them helps, but their reasons for action will largely be layers deeper than we can be aware. This is good to know, for we’re not meant to second-guess motives.

It’s better to have an open mind as to the range of reasons why people act in life.

How This Helps Us Personally – From an Interpersonal Viewpoint

Imagine the relief we have in knowing our rationale for life is forever known only to God and ourselves. The downside is people will make assumptions of why we do things, and overwhelmingly they’ll be wrong. Hence the injustices of life.

But there’s a more important relief-engendering reason to engage with this truth.

Moments where we accept it are moments we stop trying to play God.

It was never intended for us to make assumptions as to why things occur; we have the capacity to enlarge on facts and gain the truth or we leave well enough alone. This is a good rule, personally, because it helps us interpersonally — it helps us grow in humility; to revere the truth.

Beyond certain facts there’s always an air of doubt — information we have to ‘add’ in order to make sense of the story.

Where does this leave us?

To assume little in life is to be more accountable to the truth. Even better to do this in guardedness for the vicariously unknown nature of the real reasons for people’s actions.

But just as well is plunging deeper — if we have that role — to ensure discernment for matters enters the deepest waters, and to continue inquiring, “Why?”

“Why?” is a most important question — it will force us to become better listeners.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Science of Growing Space

Some of us enjoy working at close proximity to others and to tight deadlines — with little re-creative space. Most of us, however, do not enjoy such limitations over our space.

Space comes, as a result, at a premium.

Regardless of how much space we’re comfortable with, the fact remains; we all need it. Space comes packaged in all sorts of ways:

þ Physical space is something we find we need when we no longer have it. It’s being cooped up in a tiny office space, for instance, or with packing cartons all around or with too much furniture and clutter. Growing space with physical constraints is about de-cluttering. Sometimes this is to do with personal space. Many of us require this; it’s nothing to apologise for. But we must provide for it.

þ Financial space is achieved with buffers and contingencies should our budget go pear-shaped. It’s fixing the matters of stress before they take over our lives, for who can plan for financial disaster? This sort of space is heavily dependent on not having to acquire too much. Modest means make for modest needs — and more space. Growing financial space is contentedness for what we already have.

þ Emotional space is needed for the consummate feeler, as well as for the person prone to stress, anxiety and depression. Indeed, emotional space is required at a moment’s notice. Finding space emotionally, and growing it, is a matter of learning about emotional intelligence and the use of the higher mind — for which we all have significant untapped potential. This is perhaps the most important of space-makers, as control is required first at the mental and emotional levels.

þ Mental space is all about small captions of time; our use of it, but more importantly, our planning for it. We all need space to think. To think is to be able to live a responsible life. Growing more space for cognitive function is vital if we’re to be everything God wants us to be — for our families, our employer; for society.

þ Time space, personally, is crucial. Can there be a more important dimension for our use and objectives than the apportionment of time? Time we tend to waste, in all sorts of lazy and over-diligent ways. Time space is, hence, balance. Growing such space is about constantly debunking unnecessary competitors for our time. Time’s to be used for love; to achieve it, or to go toward it. Anything else is a waste of time.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Key to Love

When we approach such a diverse topic as love is, we have to tackle it at a high enough level so our answers hold across the board.

The key to love is a simple secret that’s so logical as we hear it, we easily miss it. To love is to give, and to be loved is to allow receipt. (Many people have a problem with one of these two, or both.)

Additionally, the key to love is giving at all times without thought of receipt in return — as far as that’s humanly possible.

Loving More Attractively

Loving more attractively is essentially about giving — in a way that seems without thought, but that has much prior thought about it. This means the giving is well planned, or committed beforehand — though it can be instinctive — and the transaction is quick and sure.

For love (or giving) to look attractive it has to come from the heart; we have to mean it. The more and better we’re doing it, the more we’re thinking in the mindset of humility, and the less we’ll be plagued with selfish thought for our own — what we might be missing out on, for instance.

The irony out of this is, when we least think of loving or giving attractively is when it will tend to happen that way. We don’t want to fall for trying too hard. We want to be natural givers.

Attracting Love

We all desire — some even crave — acceptance. Being loved is acceptance, as being unloved is being rejected. We all desire to be desired; to be wanted.

But, for this too, we can try too hard.

It’s best we relax and put what we can to work; that is, to actively love, without thought for what we’re getting. Starting out is a matter of mental discipline, but implicit love grows.

Attracting love is possibly also about doing what is lovely, without thought for recompense, because we love to do it. Activity for good tends to attract its own love.

Attracting love is also about receiving love well. Grace is required to allow people to love us, knowing that everyone’s love should be embraced, for this is another way we love people; by allowing them to love us.

Sacrificial Giving

This is the key to love, that we’d be living and loving sacrifices, presented to God — holy and acceptable — for his further disposal of works that lay ahead. (See Romans 12:1-3.)

This is joy. It is peace. It is the light of hope.

This is giving without any thought of receiving back; in fact, it’s getting to a point where receiving back is avoided if it can be, for God’s love — in terms of grace — many times goes unrequited. God never scowls when we don’t thank him, but he knows it’s best for us that we do.

Likewise, sacrificial love is like grace. It requires and seeks nothing.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

This article is part two of a two-part series; it finds that there are central portents that must be achieved if we’re to love and be loved. It follows part one — The Science of Love — which discussed love in broad terms, making it easy to identify with.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Capitalising on Inconvenient Blessings

Turn a street’s water off and the water authority facilitates a blessing — people venture out of the sanctuary of their abodes and begin to converse... “Have you got water?” is the common refrain.

Suddenly five people, from five separate households (some unknown to the others), are united in one purpose — to find out what’s gone wrong.

Turning the Negative to a Positive – a Powerful Gospel Truth

Basically anything can be turned toward the truth that God remits love over the entire cosmos. Positives are present in every negative. Besides, most negatives are less important than we make them out to be.

Despite what some fundamentalist-thinking people might think, there’s a lot of overlap between positive psychology and biblical schemas of thought. Truth acknowledged, the basis of all psychology — broadly ‘wisdom’ — is gospel-aligned.

The impromptu neighbourly meeting worked to the purposes of God, maybe beyond the recognition of those there. It was my fly-on-the-wall view that made the observation possible but, again, it was God who impressed this positive on me.

Seeing the Positive – the Providential Blessing of God

We think it’s easy to see the positives when we do.

But this is a revelation of the Lord. It always is. When we see what God’s done for us — even in the mire of tragedy or ill-fortune — the Lord ought to be praised.

But there’s another ‘but’...

It’s not our nature to ascribe to God that level of recognition or thanks. Or if we do we ascribe too much to him — that is, we see that the Lord has done this for us.

For instance, it’s like thinking God’s provided us a parking spot in a busy parking lot, when on another day he doesn’t.

This can lead people to think, on the latter occasion, “God, where are you?” whereas with the former, the person can falsely say, “Gee, God really showed up today!” (God does not ‘show up’ because he’s here always!) Both attributions are more like superstition; to think that God designs things always for us and never against us. That theory is debunked with the process of time.

Thanking God – But Stopping Short of Superstition

Everything we receive is from God — good, bad and indifferent.

This is a simple theology and with it, thanks.

If we thank the Lord for good, why would we not thank him for bad? (Apart from it’s not our human nature to glory in our sufferings!) We perhaps know the theory that there are ‘inconvenient blessings’ in a great number of bad things. Ours is to be truthful about the pain, whilst having a spiritual eye open and peeled for the tinge of blessing that resides with every tormented encounter (accepting that at times we won’t see it).

To stop short of superstition is important, for a superstitious theology is highly unreliable — in sum, a bad faith.

There are inconvenient blessings all around us. Our purpose is to find them and be thankful to God for vision of them.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reconciling an Uncommon Betrayal

Ted and Gayle Haggard’s to-hell-and-back story[1] highlights a silent enigma many relationships experience.

Betrayals are common in life, but we don’t know about them until we see their signs; those being less common. Beyond infidelity, every human being in a relationship both betrays and is betrayed. It’s our nature to transgress, even minimally.

But what makes it more of a problem is when the thoughts-to-betray are acted upon.

These uncommon betrayals shatter marriages and lives alike — the ripples extending out concentrically seemingly without end.

Forgiveness When Trust is Vanquished

The Haggard family story is an inspiration — but not because of his repentance. It’s his wife’s response that’s the astounding thing.

They bring the Christian truth to bear, that if the offending party will repent, the offended are asked to forgive and allow the restitution to occur — and therefore restoration. But, just how difficult is that to achieve, especially when trust has been destroyed?

It seemed illogical to the world that Gayle Haggard could forgive. When the Haggard couple were interviewed on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Gayle was treated suspiciously for letting him back in. It seems nonsensical that such courage to forgive be lambasted in a ‘show cause’ way, though viewers needed to see why — it was, therefore, necessary as a case of Christian witness to God’s healing of a strewn relationship.

Recognition in Restoration

This uncommon betrayal turned to restoration was mainly due to the offended person’s grace to allow the offender another chance. Only a small fraction of the kudos goes to the successfully repentant offender, because they lied and deceived the offended in the first place.

But, still, they turned their hidden life around to transparency.

Restoration in of any of these sorts of issues in marriages requires massive amounts of attitudinal shift and work as a result. Both should be recognised for their particular differentiated efforts; the offended supported and not lambasted for forgiving and trusting again; the offender reassured for reforming and becoming more accountable for their behaviour.

Accountability and Forgiveness

It is easier to forgive someone if they’re agreeing to be held accountable for their actions, particularly around circumstances that will lead to further temptation. (A process of recovery — where applicable — is assumed.)

Indeed, if the offender will not offer to be held accountable, what right do they have to receive the forgiveness resplendent of a second chance?

Forgiveness and accountability are like two sides of the same relational coin. For marriages exposed to uncommon betrayals to survive past their dark hours, one must forgive but the other must be ruthlessly accountable. Trust can no longer be flaunted toward compromise.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: Scene from Seattle Repertory Theatre’s, Betrayal – the play.

[1] Ted Haggard was an internationally esteemed evangelical church leader until, in 2006, his hidden life was exposed. He subsequently entered into a restorative process — centring on restoring himself through accountability and the love of God, and through restoring the trust of his wife, children and important others he had hurt (those who would forgive him). Gayle Haggard authored a book called, Why I Stayed. It is a great story of how betrayal doesn’t have to be the final word; restitution is — provided the guilty party will accede.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Science of Love

Like the concept of breathing, love is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

This claim is easy to back-up, for love is not simply the issue of romance, but the very essence of all human relationships — and it is, quintessentially, God. Even an atheist or hard man or woman cannot refute love; they’re accepted, kept safe, betrayed or maimed like anyone else.

But, before we explore the science of love so far as God’s concerned, let’s look to the practicalities of love that we all identify with.

Love Binds and Frees Us All

Nobody can get away from it. Our feelings are beset of love, just as our thoughts are confirmed in it. Care, commitment and concern are all due this wondrous attribute of eternal Presence.

These are the sensibilities of love: we either work into the folds of life and, upon honesty, derive meaning and flow with it, or we detest it. There’s no middle-ground apportioned to love.

Whichever way, we’re bound by or freed via the manner of love.

Take compliance and rebellion. All children — and therefore all adults — are more basically compliant or rebellious. Rebelliousness is not always a bad thing, but in terms of the flow of typical life, or Wisdom, it is. It’s the refusal to care when life requires that care is the appropriate response. Compliance is not always a good thing, but in terms of the flow of typical life, or Wisdom, it is. It’s acceptance in life; to care when it’s appropriate. Care is viewed in general terms here.

Compliance (or obedience) is seen, hence, as something that frees us, given that we have a choice to love, and we choose it. Rebellion (disobedience) is contradictory to life; a choice to reject sense for the appropriate order and response expected. Love binds the rebellious — they’re seen to do themselves wrong, as their wrongs backfire.

God is Love

The above mini-analysis of love’s ability to free or bind is surely a sign that God both exists and has created life as we know it around the entity of love.

Indeed, as God is Wisdom, God is love. Love and Wisdom can be viewed interchangeably.

Love is the way that life works; it’s beyond emotion around how we feel about certain persons... our spouses, parents and children. It’s beyond the issues of lust and attraction. It’s the very common driver of all motivated action — love and lack of love.

As God is everywhere and in everything all at the same time, so is love. Attributions of love are commonplace, so much so we’re oblivious to them.

The science of love, henceforth, is like energy and matter; wherever there are people interacting there is love, or want of love. Love, therefore, is at the centre of descriptions regarding all that goes on. It’s what we’re immersed in as we live.

Wise to the science of love is the person who sees it and chooses for it.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

This article is part one of a two-part series. Whilst this article discussed love in broad terms, making it easy to identify with, part two — The Key to Love — insists that there are central portents that must be achieved if we’re to love and be loved.

Friday, March 25, 2011

“Sorry About the Wait”

Working as a teen in a fast food restaurant — and having to deal with disgusting humanity at 1 A.M. — has to be a character-building or character-demeaning activity.

We can go one way or the other — a lot depends on the make up of the character of the person, as well as other contextual matters.

To say repeatedly, “Sorry about the wait,” with sufficient sincerity, when it’s neither your fault, nor is the patron respectful, is approaching the heights of dignified human grace.

But, and we daren’t forget this, it’s a stepping stone to better places. With such a vision we need a breath of eternity in getting us from here to there (wherever “there” is).

Everything Has Meaning in the Eternal

As I considered a recent daytime visit to one of these restaurants — feeling for the young men and women behind the counter, at the pointy end of one ugly spectacle — I realised afresh the importance of a vision of life, distant yet satisfying.

Such visions get us through these awkward, even threatening, moments.

I recalled Paul’s charge:

“For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.”

~2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NRSV).

That vision — the distant and holy one — is the real one, though it cannot be readily seen.

For the person behind the counter, even a slight cognisance on the dim though powerful reality of eternity will help. They’ll come to see that the meaning in present affairs is godly — however crude and appalling they might be.

Patience – Providing Meaning for Growth

Many people are paid to say, “Sorry about the wait” with a convicted sense of grace. It takes character to do that — a portion for which they ought to be commended for.

The purpose of growth is preparation for better things; the stepping stone to better places. But sometimes this ‘ugly’ place is all there is.

People, and particularly young people, can work in moderately disgusting or demeaning environments provided there’s a fervent hope for the future that they set their sights on. They don’t see it materialising next week or next month, but they believe it will occur.

This is the expression of faith in a real world context. To believe in what is not yet real, or even seen, is a hopeful faith.

Better it is for us to encourage these on their way — in the midst of the “sorry-for-the-wait” responses they’re required to give. Even better it is for us when we’re in restaurants to be served, courteously; that we’d treat the waiting staff as we’d like to be treated.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hating Spam

There seems to be a flavour of person insisting on nonsense; be it tagging posts of irrelevance, emails to all, vacant prayer requests (there is plenty of inappropriate prayer-talk getting around) and the like. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say it; I really do hate being spammed.

Begs the question: just why is it that I hate it so much?

Well, it’s devoid of love. The intent is dreamy and without purpose and the people who enter into it haven’t a heart for the individuals on the receiving end; their heart is selfishly placed.

This I regard as spam:

ü Bulk emails — unless they’re used in a working or family environment to communicate broad-based information — that have addresses showing in the “to” or “cc” fields so everyone can ‘enjoy’ the pleasure of knowing your contact information. These can be the perfect route of entry for telemarketers who pay for this information.

ü Bulk emails on Facebook, no matter the subject, unless the sender actually knows everyone receiving it well enough to talk to them, and each in receipt know each other, and it’s relevant to all. Double the hurt is ‘replies to all’, and many are they who flippantly use it.

ü Tags – any tags that are placed onto a wall or into photograph areas without prior consent. (Some consent is reasonably implied — for instance, close friends and family.) Name tags are different. They show consideration for the person tagged; they say, “I like what you’re doing so much I wanted to share it, and to acknowledge you as the source,” for all sources should be identified and credited.

Spam is unsolicited, bulk in nature, and indiscriminate.

Anything that we do that fills that quota is just that — despicable use of a communication tool for the promotion of self and for the wasting of other people’s time, effort and resources, and their resultant frustration.

Spam comes into the inbox, and is marked: “without love” or “accept my selfishness without apology”.

Living in the Anonymous Age

With spam there’s a dire lack of consideration in an anonymous age.

Emails are a poignant example. Just how often do people get away with their ‘electronic actions’ because they fan their emotion via the written word only to feign it later? Call them and you get a different person... “Oh, sorry, you shouldn’t have taken it that way.” Rubbish is what that is.

Cowards thrive in this age where it’s easier to remain unidentified emotionally. It’s easier to pretend we’re not offended when in reality we are. The real person doesn’t enter into a volley of hasty, regrettable emails; instead, they get up from their desk and visit the person.

Whilst this phenomenon is not spamming, it reveals the same route.

Spam is the outcome of the converse of love; it’s life without care and concern for others.

Let us — in this environment of Christian love — desist from the practice of spamming. Let’s act in accord with how we, ourselves, would like to be treated.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: 3dinteractive.

Honouring Last Chances for Sweet Surrender

“Sweet, sweet surrender,

Live, live without care,

Like a fish in the water,

Like a bird in the air.”

~John Denver, Sweet, Sweet Surrender.

A surreal reality contends upon us when we contemplate our finiteness. The thought or action we’re currently engaged in could easily be our last.

But chances are this will not be our last moment; the vast majority of us have years of life to look forward to. The very chance breeds the possibility, however.

When we imagine we’re in our final moments we can readily hold a dramatic tension between our hearts and minds — that is to enjoy a carefree life, as little things carry far too much seriousness, whilst also noting just how important the moment is for living the ‘last chance’ i.e. to get it right.

Live, Live Without Care

As the sung words of John Denver filter through our conscious minds, we envision not so much a lack of care as a lack of superfluous concern. There’s a big difference.

One has ambivalently vagrant care and deals in life without thought. The other is about caring so much, whilst weighing eternity in the lap with the present hour, becoming convinced to the value of a carefree approach.

If we’re to resolve one half of the mystery for end-time living it’s to be less bothered about the things that don’t matter.

Sweet, Sweet Surrender

Envisaging the ability to yield the soul to the God-imbued moment is what sweet surrender is about.

At death we will surrender. This is because our bodies will be taken from us, the spirit living on. Death is the best illustration of surrender.

As I engage in my practice of daily napping — taking 5-15 minutes to revive myself to alertness — I must surrender the eyes to my Maker; I must be prepared to fall into sleep. I must will it. It’s surrender; the willingness to yield the will toward relinquishing consciousness.

It’s just as pertinent to give up, wilfully, and make the effort to succumb.

Honouring the Last Chance

How many of us will know when our time’s up; when we’ve engaged in our last action?

None of us.

Our last chance is now. We make the best fist of what we have, now. Still, the nature of life is to slip into taking things, again, for granted.

What if we did that, and wilfully resisted the need to surrender dishonouring the last chance? We could regret it in eternity.

Honouring our last chances — which is holding high potentially every thought, word and deed from now until our deaths — is about exhibiting a sweet surrender, embellished by an appropriately carefree spirit.

That’s the theory upon which we try our best.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How Generosity Amends Guilt

“So often when people hear about suffering in our world, they feel guilty, but rarely does guilt actually motivate action like empathy and compassion. Guilt paralyzes and causes us to deny and avoid what is making us feel guilty. The goal is to replace our guilt with generosity.”

~The Most Rev. Dr. Desmond Tutu,

God Has a Dream, 2004.

Fear reigns when it should not.

What should hold sway — but often doesn’t — is the power of love in positive action.

Instead, fear pushes through the crowd, gatecrashing its way to the front, and it withholds the unencumbered flow of growth where citizens otherwise have no thought but to love.

Guilt’s Time-bound Role

Guilt is a wasted emotion unless it’s facilitating the movement of a soul toward repentance — the process that finds, through restitution, a making of amends toward healing. It has a role, finite as it is.

Love — rightly apportioned — is the one that wheels in this great purpose-promoted use of guilt. Guilt is accessed because love has been transgressed. Love’s therefore the one that brings a person to account via their situational guilt.

Honesty’s the catalyst employing guilt, making a facilitative contract with the truth. God wants the truth adhered to; moments after there’s forgiveness. Grace never withholds healing. We own the guilt and then we’re healed.

That’s guilt’s role in sum. It has no right to bring us back to reconciled issues.

Recovering from Guilt – Promoting the Generous Spirit

We need to brainwash ourselves toward generosity — restraining our guilt — to restore the empathic balance we all feel at the will of injustice.

Put plainly, we outweigh the typical fears we have — manifest as they are in guilt — with the positives of action, and this inspired by empathy and compassion.

Generosity cannot be seen unless it’s action-oriented.

Whenever we feel like guilt is restoring its grip on us, we can immediately resist it through the grace-felt utterance of generous action — a heart for the lost.

Think of those around us. Anyone who’s ‘dealing with life’ has our empathy — our compassion is shared with them in meaningful ways. A plan’s devised and executed. God blesses us, and this inspires more generous action.

The Spirit of God has us never listening to the lies of the devil — guilt is his forte; a bilingual portion with shame.

Above all, love is known via action (for instance, generosity) but fear is known by inaction. The world needs love — and the reach of God — continually, because there’s too much fear.

But fear is beaten with love (1 John 4:18) and positives and action always outweigh negatives and inaction. Side with generosity, not guilt.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: Trevin Wax.