The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin. -- Proverbs 10:16
Thursday, July 10, 2014
As we so often say, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. It is not what we have or do not have, what we do or don’t do that makes us righteous. Jesus might have had this or similar sayings in mind when He said: The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
What is in our hearts, regardless of our external circumstances, determines the kind of people we are, and the kind of people we are will create meaningfulness or meaninglessness in our lives. It does not matter if a person sweeps the street or rules the world, what we do passes while what we are becomes our eternal destiny. One who is good will not consistently do evil. Our outward behavior flows from who we are.
Our films, part of our national mythology, show both tragedy and triumph. We love the movies where the poor kid overcomes obstacles to become successful, rich and famous. A fairly recent example might be The Pursuit of Happyness. In that film we see a man with a success mindset who was determined not to be trapped in hopelessness and lack. Other films depict the downward side of the spiral where some measure of success leads, not to happiness and fulfillment, but to tragedy, broken relationships, addictions, and destruction – Goodfellas comes to mind.
Lord Acton said that power tends to corrupt. I would be foolish to disagree with a wise man, but I think wealth and power expose what lies at the center of a life. If there is corruption, riches and influence may make it manifest. Conversely, if one has a good heart, having resources will enable that goodness to express itself.
It's hard to live without oxygen, but even something so essential can be dangerous in high concentrations. Bare steel is prone to rust on exposure, but alloy in the right elements, like chromium, and it becomes much less vulnerable. Faith, hope, and love are among the elements my heart needs that it might be impervious to the corrosive influence of the world and the things of the world.