With this blog I begin a series of reflections about finding personal peace. So much seems to be wrong with the world we live in. Rather than experiencing the peace we crave, we find ourselves dealing with an undertow of concerns that seem to never completely go away. Questions about political leadership, terrorism, the economy, health issues and personal/family relationships consume our thoughts no matter how hard we try to submerge or contain them.
I recall dealing with a forgiveness issue involving a friend who hurt me and my family. I reached a point in life where I could mouth the words ‘I forgive you.’ But was it true forgiveness? It still felt like an irritating current of water swirling about my feet. Deep down, I kept agonizing and wanted revenge! Sometimes the most picayune event would occur and turn that undertow into of flood of anger all over again. The cycle took decades to overcome. It took more than uttering words.
Let’s begin our journey with Psalm 37, verses one and two:
“Do not fret (agonize) because of evil men (women) or be envious of those who do wrong, for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.”
In hindsight, I realized I failed most often with the wisdom pointed out in these two verses. Fretting does not accomplish anything, except take a personal toll on the person doing the agonizing. Fretting is like a seed lying dormant waiting for the right set of conditions to emerge and destroy our peace.
Scripture reminds us that the rain falls on both the just and unjust. This means unjust people sometimes prosper more, accomplish more, and have lives that seem to be more desirable than those who are believers.
But, believers live for the promises of eternity. That should be the big difference. We are not grass or green plants that only look good for a season, and have no promise of a “new heaven and a new earth.” (Rev. 21:1)
So, wisdom number 1 is “Do not fret.” I know it’s easier said than done. Focusing on the long-term rather than the immediate aspects of life helps to move us forward.