“Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure.” (II Corinthians 13: 11, the Message Bible)
What a sweet and powerful to-do list! If we look to these wise suggestions for our daily lives, we will find ourselves in a happy place. We will become aware of the presence of love and peace, of God with us.
Being cheerful isn’t always easy, but I know that whenever I can turn from self-pity to humor or from a dreary outlook to a more hopeful approach, I feel better. I am open to grace and inspiration and healing. We can be good-humored without being false about it. We can keep our spirits up by remembering that God is governing and that there is always much for which to be grateful and expectant.
Keeping things in good repair can mean many things. I think of it not only as making sure our homes and our possessions are orderly and functional, but also that we keep good relations with others, smooth over what we can, forgive, keep peace. It also means a self-awareness that looks for healing within, a clearing away of the old, the broken sense of ourselves, and discovering who we really are—innocent, undamaged, with unlimited potential for good.
Think in harmony. This isn’t about agreeing with ever human opinion. What it is about is remembering God’s Oneness, that we are all a part of one creation, with God, Love, as Cause. It is looking consciously for common ground and listening to others and to God’s unifying word, rather than focusing on differences.
These steps include so much more than what is shared here, and yet they also are simple, natural to us, and a way to heaven—knowing God’s love and peace for us right here on earth.
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