All of our thoughts can be divided into two basic categories: right and wrong. Right thoughts are God-centered and wrong thoughts are self-centered. Any use of sex except as an expression of love and procreation in marriage is sinful and breaks the Seventh Commandment. Being gracious is difficult. It could mean letting go of grudges and prejudices and going beyond what is fair to what is merciful. Children respond to tragedy differently. They look to adults for guidance on how they should react to grief. If adults absorb it and continue their lives, children assume they should do likewise. Generous behavior reduces adolescent depression and suicide. Several studies have shown that teenagers who do volunteer work are less likely to fail a subject in school, get pregnant, or abuse substances.
Gratitude and humility rather than resentment and grumbling should characterize our handling of circumstances that arise in everyday living. Life is made up of little things: smiles, kindnesses, obligations, and giving. They are what win and preserve the heart and generate comfort. Life is not passive activity. We are expected to sow, welcome, witness, and trust that even our smallest efforts could bear amazing fruit.
More people are making their own rules, setting their own standards, and living their own way. This can and in many ways will only end in disaster. Physical activity is among the healthiest things we can do for ourselves. Studies tell us that “taking it easy” is a real danger. Seven guiding principles to help nurture our faith in God’s Word include justice, understanding, perseverance, endurance, reverence, friendship, and forgiveness. When we are filled with kindness and gentleness, there is no room for bitterness or self-centered motives. With God’s help we can strive to speak gracious words that can strengthen families and communities by building people up, bridging gaps, and restoring broken relationships.
Self-reflection is always a good exercise. What I believe is a work in progress, not limited to these statements and subject to change. What do YOU believe?
Longtime Parma Hts. resident and educator in the Parma School district.