Pentecost 82

Pentecost 82
My Psalm 82

Judgment and Peace

Recent events in the news have been based upon judgments. These judgments have resulted in a lack of peace. Whether an assumption based on incorrect perceptions or a fanatical dogma, actions based upon fallacies have resulted in spreading chaos and fear.

Interestingly enough the words judgment and peace actually have a great deal in common. A judgment is the ability to make a decision based upon careful thought. Peace is the lack of violence, a state based upon careful consideration. See the connection? Both require careful thinking and careful consideration.

How do we achieve that? The world’s history is full of instances where people made incorrect judgments, even false accusations. Usually the results were localized wars but on occasions those have turned into worldwide global conflicts. While civil wars of the past may not have involved other countries, today’s economy is a worldwide event and the conflicts of one region ultimately end up affecting us all. We are one world, one planet, one race.

What happens we people judge? People begin to act with fear. According to American clergyman Tullian Tchividjian, “The deepest fear we have, the fear beneath all fears, is the fear of not measuring up, the fear of judgment. It’s this fear that creates the stress and depression of everyday life.”

The Roman Cicero combined these two things in speaking developing great character. “It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment.” Careful consideration requires reflection and a true will to do right. Sometimes we must make split-second decisions but we need to do so based upon actual events and not perceptions from the past. We need to rid ourselves of past hurts, past whispers of ancient discriminations. Harboring ill feelings towards a nationality or ethnicity is not using sound judgment and it certainly will not lead to peace.

Buddha explained it this way: “To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.” Seemingly a student of Thomas a Kempis who thought peace must begin internal before it could be external to the soul, Jawaharial Nehru stated: “Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.”

In her article “10 Steps to a More Peaceful Living”, Kate Lawrence advocates ten steps toward living with fewer judgments against others and the reward for a more peaceful existence. The first step is simplicity which advocates the old saying “Less is more”. Next comes humility which proposes we recognize the value in every job, not just those with big paychecks or prestigious titles. Intention is next and it requires us to think about why we undertake each and every action as well as its consequences. Next Lawrence discusses something she refers to as “Death and the Personal Self”. Eastern philosophies believe in many lives of one soul and Lawrence feels that this leads to a lack of fear regarding death. Perhaps most effective, though, is her advocating the death of one’s ego, the personal self that becomes an arrogant motivator for all our actions.

Lawrence continues her guide for peaceful living by discussing judgment. Dividing it into two steps, she discusses conflict resolution and less blame for mistakes. Often it is not a lack of knowledge in resolving conflicts that we need but rather the inclination and desire to do so. Many times, and this harkens back to the death of personal self, the ego becomes the hurdle and resolution becomes an elusive dream that flies away without being attempted. Then the subject of generosity is introduced. Lawrence gives examples of Buddha and a Tibetan lama but she could have also quoted the “Turn the other cheek” adage and “Love Your Neighbor” directive from the Christian faith. Kate Lawrence concludes with three things that are more personal habits than perhaps actual guidelines: yoga, vegetarianism, and a commitment to peaceful living.

We have the power within us, within each of us, to bring about peace. We have to stand tall and respond in peace with love and concern for all. When we live with faith and careful thought, we will make the right judgment and have the peace we all seek to live strong.

My Psalm 82

You are our Creator, the Maker of all.
You know us better than we know ourselves.
Some are strong and some are weak.
You love us all in spite of ourselves, Lord.
Grant us mercy and guidance.
Help us repair damages caused.
Enable us to build and rebuild when we destroy.
Endue us with compassion and generosity.
May we walk in your shadow and
Dance in your love.

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