Thursday, June 16, 2022

Joy or Cynicism. You Choose.


Whether you're basically happy or generally discontented may very well be a matter of choice.

Allow me, please, a pair of paragraphs from The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J. M. Nouwen:

I don't have to wait until all is well, but I can celebrate every little hint of the Kingdom that is at hand. This is a real discipline. It requires choosing for the light even when there is much darkness to frighten me, choosing for life even when the forces of death are so visible, and choosing for the truth even when I am surrounded with lies. I am tempted to be so impressed by the obvious sadness of the human condition that I no longer claim the joy manifesting itself in many small but very real ways. The reward of choosing joy is joy itself. Living among people with mental disabilities has convinced me of that. There is so much rejection, pain, and woundedness among us, but once you choose to claim the joy hidden in the midst of all suffering, life becomes celebration. Joy never denies the sadness, but transforms it to a fertile soil for more joy.

For me it is amazing to experience daily the radical difference between cynicism and joy. Cynics seek darkness wherever they go. They point always to approaching dangers, impure motives, and hidden schemes. They call trust naive, care romantic, and forgiveness sentimental. They sneer at enthusiasm, ridicule spiritual fervor, and despise charismatic behavior. They consider themselves realists who see reality for what it truly is and who are not deceived by "escapist emotions." But in belittling God's joy, their darkness only calls forth more darkness.

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Truth is...I hope you consider this a call to "choose you this day" what lens to view the world through. As for me and my house, I'm on Jesus' side when he said "I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!"  - John 15:11 (NLT)

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