Be Kind To Everyone!

Behold, you are pleased with sincerity of heart,
and in my inmost being you teach me this wisdom.

Psalm 51:8

Quite recently, a celebrity drew criticism after sitting with a perceived political enemy at a public event. Some of her fans and followers took her to task because the person she’d associated with had been unsupportive of issues which directly effected them all. This celebrity responded candidly as she habitually does. She pointed out that she consistently encourages her audiences and friends to be kind to one another. She went on to explain that this means to be kind to everyone, not only those with whom we agree. I admit that I applauded her for standing by her principles. I also asked myself how often I’d allowed a difference of opinion to cause me to withhold my kindness from another of God’s children.

You know, I truly believe that God is alive and well among us and within us all. This celebrity may or may not acknowledge God in her life. However, she exhibited God’s attitude toward us through her example in this situation. The good news is that many of us do our best to live out what we call our faith or our consciences’ dictates or our humanity.

This story touched me because so much of the opposite is at play these days. Perhaps it’s time for all of us to pay closer attention to our parts in all of this. Whether we’re driven by faith or philosophy or a simple sense of our common humanity, we need to allow one another to do the best each of us can. When interventions are in order, we need to offer them constructively as best we can. It seems to me that this is all God asks.

Dear God, help us all to be ambassadors of your love.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Freedom to Worship

Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and follow after it.

Psalm 34:15

I recently overheard a young man mumbling about church. Apparently, his experience included far too many references to hell and damnation and far too few regarding community and caring and love. Because I know him reasonably well, I decided to pursue a conversation. Because he knows me reasonably well, he eventually worked up the courage to ask me why I still go to church.

After what evolved into a very productive and pleasant exchange, we went our separate ways. With us, we carried our understanding and respect for one another. In the end, we had agreed that all of us are free to relate to our loving Creator as best we can in our own ways. Some will be guided by a community of believers; some will be guided by other experiences; we’ll all be guided by our hearts.

I had the good fortune to grow up in a more-than-tolerant family within a diverse community. In the process, I met many good people who happened to look or to behave or to believe differently than I did. Still, they were very good people. The more my world expanded, the more these differences increased. Still, I encountered very good people who looked or behaved or believed differently than I did. It seems to me that God is pleased with all of our efforts when they cause us to turn from evil, to do good, to seek peace and to love one another.

Patient God, thank you for making each of us unique and for giving us all the freedom to live and to love you accordingly.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

No Strings Attached, Honest!

Brothers and sisters,
Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another,
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:8

I retired from my career in education with a county level job. This position allowed me access to people and opportunities I might otherwise have never encountered. I very much appreciated working with others at this level to benefit our area children.

One new friend had been elected to a position at the state level. This person understood the possibilities that came with this position and was anxious to add good will and good sense to the mix. Over time, frustration mounted. Her every attempt to transform a good idea into practice required her support of not-particularly-good ideas in return. In the end, my friend found that too many bad ideas became reality as a result of the “deals” which had to be made to gather support. In the end, my friend resigned her elected position and moved on to a place where there were no strings attached to anyone’s good deeds.

We all occasionally find ourselves holding things over the heads of others to get our way. In the end, I never feel very good about this arrangement. I would much prefer that the other person simply did the right thing because it was right. I’m quite certain that God prefers it when I do the same.

Dear God, you’ve given us the wisdom to discern what is right and to act accordingly. Help us not to hinder our own goodness or the goodness of others by attaching strings to our good deeds.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

D… Depth, Yours and Mine

When cares abound within me,
your comfort gladdens my soul.”

Psalm 94:19

D is for Depth. Though I don’t use this word often enough in my writing, it is of great importance to me. I think you would agree that we all do our best work when we study the task before us inside and out. We go beneath the surface of appearances to be certain that we understand before we proceed.

Throughout my teaching career and my volunteer endeavors, I met the challenges of my students and those who needed me best when I took the time to explore beneath the surface with them. Many things simply aren’t what they seem to be.

Of all of life’s gifts, I think I appreciate most the understanding of another soul. What a gift it is when someone delves beneath the surface to discover what actually makes me tick! What a gift it is when I care enough to allow another to share the depths of his or her spirit with me! When we appreciate the value of depth, our lives become exponentially fuller.

Dear God, you reside within the depths of each one of us. Help us to find you within one another.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

All Good

A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
From Psalm 51:19

This morning, a friend forwarded an article about Pope Francis. After reading it, I had to admit to myself that I sometimes allow the negatives “out there” to distract me. Pope Francis and many good souls have brought goodness into my life and the lives of others. The article renewed my hope in humankind and gave me reason to smile.

You know, I truly believe that God is alive and well among us, within and outside of the church. Numerous people do their best to live out what they call their faith or their consciences’ dictates as best they can. Still, I also realize that we humans sometimes unwittingly do our best to undermine the good work of those around us.

Perhaps it’s time for all of us to pay attention to our inner compasses. Whether we are driven by faith or philosophy or a simple sense of what’s right, we need to allow one another to do the best we can. It seems to me that this is all God asks whether we believe or not!

Dear God, help us all to be ambassadors of goodness.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Follow Your Heart

Turn from evil, and do good;
seek peace, and follow after it.

Psalm 34:15

I recently overheard a young man mumbling about church. Apparently, his experience included far too many references to hell and damnation and far too few regarding community and caring and love. Because I know him reasonably well, I decided to pursue a conversation. Because he knows me reasonably well, he eventually worked up the courage to ask me why I still go to church.

After what evolved into a very productive and pleasant conversation, we went our separate ways. With us, we carried the understanding and the respect of the other because we agreed that all of us are free to relate to our loving Creator as best we can in our own way. Some will be guided by a community of believers; some will be guided by other experiences; and we’ll all be guided by our hearts.

I had the good fortune to grow up in a more-than-tolerant family within a diverse community. In the process, I met many good people who happened to look or behave or believe differently than I did. Still, they were very good people. The more my world expanded, the more these differences increased. Still, I encountered very good people. It seems to me that God is pleased with all of our efforts when they cause us to turn from evil, to do good, to seek peace and to love one another.

Patient God, thank you for making each of us unique and for giving us the freedom to live and to love you accordingly.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved