Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Magical Formulas, Hidden Keys, and Yellow Brick Roads

Most Americans seem to believe that the quest for success and happiness will be attained if we can only find the right formula, the correct key that opens Door No. 1, the hidden path that will take us to the Yellow Brick Road. We scour bookstores and attend seminars that will show us the way: 7 Steps to Financial Freedom, The 3 Principles of Healthy Relationships, 10 Steps to Rearing Perfect Children, The 4 Spiritual Laws for Walking with God.

A + B x C - D = success

Tic off each box in exact order and the Good Life will be yours

Follow this map Get on State Rd 7, go 2 miles, turn left at traffic signal onto Miracle Mile, and then, in .5 miles, merge on to Transformation Interstate. In 20 miles you will see exit to Yellow Brick Rd/Kingdom Living/Nirvana.

Take the correct steps, follow the directions perfectly and success and happiness will be yours.

So, we read the books, listen to the gurus, follow the directions, and end up on a snaking pathway through a dense forest enveloped in foggy mists that swallow you up.

“How in the heck did I get here? Maybe the map was faulty?”

Author: No, the problem was that you failed to read my sequel. For just $19.99 you’ll be back on your way.

“Create Your Destiny: Change Your Karma”
Does anyone else feel like an oxy-moron?

Just download this program into your brain and you will experience health, wealth, and happiness. Oops. Ok. Download Perfect Life 2.0.

Frost: Take the road less traveled. That’s the ticket.

Question: if hundreds of thousands of people take the Road Less Traveled can we any longer call it Less Traveled? And wouldn’t the road then become a well-worn trail, easy to follow?  

Time to exit.

I know -- I’ll read some of the more Eastern authors. Gosh darn, they just ooze with spirituality, don’t they?

Mystic: There are no mists, Wilson. The forest is a mirage.
Me: My sucking chest wound is real
Mystic: Woosah
Me: I need a transfusion!
Mystic: You’re “I” is not really here
Me: Neither are you

More books  Have Faith; Obey God’s Rules; Be Virtuous; Be Authentic; Recreate Yourself and Be Someone Else; Work Hard; Work Wiser; Be Principled; Go With the Flow; Follow Your Bliss; Let Go; Hold On.

Insanity gradually descends. There’s something wrong with me. It’s her/his/their/its fault that I am not successful and happy.

Few stop and question their definition of “success.” Fewer stop and ask themselves is my “happiness” what life is really all about. Fewer still wonder what really matters, in light of eternity.

Be one of the fewer still.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2016

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Judging the Judgers

How easy it is to judge rightly after one sees what evil comes from judging wrongly.  - Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)

Fact: We are constantly making judgments regarding attitudes and behaviors: both that of others with whom we live and work and our selves.  

I judge whether or not an employee is fulfilling his job description and whether or not it is a case where there needs to be more training or is a failure of fidelity. If I do not do so, I will be “weighed and found wanting” (judged) by my boss.

If you have ever had dealings with the Department of Human Resources (HR), pretty much their entire job description is making judgments and handing down moral edicts.

When someone lies to us, cheats us, steals from us, do we not judge such behaviors as morally wrong?

I could go on and on but you get my point. We can’t get through life without making judgments or being judged.

So how is it that we are constantly being told, “Judge not lest you be judged”? If the people running around being all judgey about the judgers would take a breath and think about their assertion, they would see just how nonsensical the statement is.

“But Jesus said…” Isn’t it amazing when people whom reject Christ as being God Incarnate take some of His sayings, usually out of context, and throw them in the faces of others? But tell me, did Jesus make judgments: in the memoirs of the Apostles, do we see Him judging attitudes and behaviors? You bet we do. And you can’t say, “But He was sinless and, therefore, qualified to make such judgments,” when you don’t believe He is the Son of God. The writers of the New Testament never claimed to be without sin and they all made judgments between good and bad, and right and wrong.

Come on: if judging others is always wrong, then what, pray tell, are those people screaming, “Judge not!” doing? Why, yes, Skippy, they are judging others!

Speaking of Hypocrites

When you read the entire passage on making judgments from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:1-3) it becomes apparent that He is giving a very stern warning about hypocrisy. 

Verse 2 Watch it guys: by whatever standard you are using to judge others, you will be judged. How will you fare when this happens?

Verse 3 What are you doing judging the splinter in the other guy’s eye, when you have a log in your own? - How often are we actually projecting the evil in our own hearts upon others, because we know that’s what we are feeling or thinking or wanting to do or are secretly doing?

However, notice that Jesus then says that by clearing up my own eyesight that I will then be able to help the other guy with the splinter in his eye. In other words, Yeah, verily, and forsooth: get your own life and heart in order so that when you do make judgments you aren’t projecting or evading your own failures and, consequently, guilty of hypocrisy.

Making moral judgments are part of daily life. However, it is not about going all Law and Order on others by passing out Moses-like edicts and condemnations or seeking to highlight your moral superiority. It is about seeking to gently and patiently helping the fallen to bear the burden of his failures so as to restore him. *

So, by all means, go forth and make judgments. Just make sure you begin with your own heart and life. 

* Galatians 6

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2016