Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Just; Pride and Prejudice

"According to St. Augustine's theology, original sin has three consequences: (1) we don't know where happiness is to be found (ignorance); (2) we look for it in the wrong places (concupiscence); and (3) if we ever find out where it might be found, the will is too weak to pursue it anyway."

Just is a term that refers to fairness, equity, our sense of what is right with specific significance to ourselves.
"Tis nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Shakespeare

We are impacted and stimulated by the sense of happiness which we so desperately seek. Happiness is conditional. Our sense of what is just is acquired and heightened by the lives and circumstances of those around us, community affects. Our happiness is motivated by our intrinsic need to be loved and accepted. We desire to be a part of our community, to fit in, to be included.

Happiness is impossible to achieve when based on those variables which community declares as meaningful and for the most part the nature of the community is of little consequence. The commodities of any community acquired will not insure a person's happiness, it is not the possession of any given commodity which provides contentment.
Happiness must be found within, basically as an operative system of contentment. Contentment is an aspect of humility. Humility will find what is just in the acceptance of my condition as being what is the absolute best for me having been given the options of other choices. 

Happiness is not specifically a place or destination, but a value that I am able to synthesize into my life. Happiness is not pleasure, nor absence of displeasure, it is a state of mind.

Happiness involves understanding our thought processes and being discerning in the ways and means by which we seek to not only find happiness but in the very way in which we define happiness. If happiness is a value determined by comparison, relative comparisons as compared to absolute comparisons, then our abilities, status, income, homes, clothing, cars, trucks, bikes or any other property becomes a paler shade of green. We see through eyes enlivened by lust and the need for instant gratification. The appearance of things will never satisfy, it must be the deeper needs that must be satiated. Our sense of dissatisfaction results from our inability to 'create' happiness to accept what God has given and to be grateful in that place, situation or circumstance. 

Think about it, seriously, what is there that you want that you absolutely need, better stated, what needs do you have that you cannot have instantly? A lust or desire or possession is not a need, having it will not satisfy or gratify, you will not be more happy, nor more content with its acquisition. You will already have had to be content before. You will have to had determined that your circumstances and contentment (happiness) are based on a belief that God is good, and that your faith supports that truth. You will have to believe that God is just.

We all struggle with that very sense of what is just, it is sometimes a hard lesson to learn that it 'rains on the just and the unjust', that reward and punishment are not meted out equitably, at least not as we would have it.
What we would deem as fair or just is what drives our sense of happiness and contentment.

"The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another.... Some of those situations may, no doubt, deserve to be preferred to others: but none of them can deserve to be pursued with that passionate ardour which drives us to violate the rules either of prudence or of justice; or to corrupt the future tranquillity of our minds, either by shame from the remembrance of our own folly, or by remorse from the horror of our own injustice." Adam Smith

Pride and prejudice determine and drive our preferences, the decisions we make which determine our future, and these preferences for the most part are necessary and vital to our continued existence, however, the overrating of any suggested future, a forecasting or prophetic visualization of a future happiness which is driven by a current lust or instantaneous gratification is to be flagged as risky. When ambition, lust and desire are unbounded, having no limits, no checks, we see the corruptness of man's nature revealed. When ambition is bound it "leads us to work joyfully'.

God has given us a tremendous resource in our mind, our ability to discern and synthesize, to create and visualize, to think and speculate, to be happy and content, to have faith and believe.
Psalm 16:6 "The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places: Yes, I have a good inheritance."
There are lines and boundaries to which we can submit. They exist to limit our lusts and desires and they can determine the decisions we make and the path we take. They provide a pathway to being content, having happiness as a part of our daily life. They assuage the fear and turn cowardly inaction into proactive experience. When fear and worry are bound we can maintain a prudent, cautious and thoughtful approach to our everyday decision-making. "Contentment comes not so much from great wealth as from few wants." Epictetus

God gave us the capacity and resources to be content. We can and must manufacture our sense of happiness by acquiescing to the allotments that God gives us in life. This place where we live is the fruit of our own speculative decision-making and the intertwining of God's intervening sovereignty (Calvinist I am not). Finding fault, complaining, whining about how 'life' has dealt with us is not conducive to being content. Life is less an aspect of chance or fate and more about facing up to the realities of consequence, responsibility and accountability for our decisions.

2 Corinthians 9:8 "... and God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work."

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