The Joy of Righteousness and Love
Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor."
- Proverbs 21:21 NIV
Righteousness is a word that we do not hear often these days to describe a way of living or a goal in life. Even those who have chosen to live a purposeful life full of good intentions, a life of honesty and integrity, using kindness and understanding as their guides, might prefer to make use of a more humble sounding terminology. This may be because humility is one of those things found in righteousness. Righteousness also implies being just and fair, and valuing the welfare of others in all of our intentions and interactions, So where there is kindness, understanding, and humility, there is also righteousness. And all these things have love at their source, so where there is righteousness, there too is love.
This is not about the pursuit of righteousness and the pursuit of love; it is about the pursuit of righteousness and love in tandem, righteousness and love as a team. When pursued together, gone is any tendency to feel any sort of self righteousness or excessive pride. We do not wish to be better than the next guy; we seek to be better than ourselves.
Pursuing something implies an attempt to capture it, to reel it in, but in pursuing righteousness and love, we seek to bear witness to it, to watch it work in the world and in the good people who live in it. We also pursue it by allowing it to be a part of us. Pursuing it in this way, we begin to feel it. It feels like joy. So we seek and we find, and it is much that we find.
Life is good. In the light of righteousness and love, we find life within life, an inner aliveness and enthusiasm. We find joy. We do not seek some kind of material eternal life; we seek righteousness and love, and we delight in the feelings of expansiveness and joy that we discover along the way. It is the spirit of life that we find.
Prosperity is good. In the light of righteousness and love, greed is gone, and excess does not exist. Any thought of using dishonesty and deceit as a path to prosperity disappears. Meanwhile, abundance abounds. The prosperity we find lives inside of this abundance. Abundance flows; it cannot be bottled up or fenced in. We do not attempt to block this flow; we let it out and discover that this is the best way to let it in. Abundance is not a measure of material wealth, but a measure of the good and the joy that exists in the world and that we feel in our hearts. So we give, even if the only thing we have to give is our own joy. This is the kind of prosperity that we find.
Honor is good. In the light of righteousness and love, we are able to witness honor in people who do good things, people doing the right things for the right reasons, and we aspire to do the same. Humility is a key ingredient in honor, as honorable people often do not personally take credit for their actions and achievements, assigning it to others including the higher powers. Honor implies courage. As we aspire to live in honorable ways, we use the courage in our hearts to overcome our fears, because doing the right thing is not always easy. And we use this courage to change the way we do things if needs be in order to live in honorable ways. Honor often implies trust and loyalty. So we trust in the good things; we trust in joy. We are loyal to humanity and our commitment to its well being. This is the kind of honor that we find
Righteousness and Love
Righteousness is good. Love is good. Together they are even better. Righteousness and love as one helps us find life, prosperity and honor. It is a powerful force for good in this world. It is a part of that higher power that we call God. God does not hide. So our matter of pursuing can now become a matter of receiving. We may go so far, perhaps, to say that it has been pursuing us. So we stop and we breathe; we stop and become found. We allow righteousness and love to flow to us, and to flow from us. We share and we give. We are kind; we are understanding.. We help others as best we can. Even when we are down, we try to give joy to others. There are not many things better than to bring a little cheer to some ones day and to help them smile regardless of our own situation. Our pursuit is a continuing journey because there is no limit to the enthusiasm, the abundance and the joy that is to be found. And like God, righteousness and love is always with us.
This article reflects my own views concerning this scriptural passage and is not intended to contradict any other views or any beliefs that are based on them.
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© 2019 Paul K Francis