Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Sword of Greed or the Sword of Generosity

An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth.

It’s an understandable reaction to being wronged, but sometimes the best answer doesn’t make logical sense.

Jesus said if you live by the sword, you die by it as well. Whatever rules we choose to engage in, we must be willing to have those same rules enacted upon us. If I live a critical, negative and judgmental life, I should not be surprised when you treat me in the same manner.

As I mentioned in my last post, the emotion that many of us are feeling towards the spirit of Greed we see in our country today is acute. It angers us to see it, and rightly so, but we must be fully aware of the sword it is causing us to wield.

Folks complain that Wall Street executives make zillions in bonuses while their employees suffer and their companies go under. The corporate big-wigs giving no concern for those who work for them; I’m not sure how that works in their mind. As a business owner, I look at this and scratch my head. I would never want to treat people that way. But if I lost my job at a company where the CEO got a huge Christmas bonus and I got a pink slip, how would that make me feel? Yea, I’d be pissed too.

But where should I direct that outrage? How effective would it be for me to protest in front of the CEO’s house? It might make me feel vindicated to give him the finger and a piece of my mind, but what impact would it have on the Spirit of Greed?

If I live by the sword of anger, I must be willing to die by that sword. What do I have in the end when I exchange Anger for Anger? Everybody ends up angry.

I am a fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, in which he addresses how movements begin. They often can be traced back to simple, small beginnings. A trend starts because a few kids start wearing a particular shoe, that then gets noticed by a photographer, that gets noticed by a fashion designer, that gets noticed by a buyer, that ends up in stores all across the country and on the feet of hundreds of thousands of people. This is the nutshell version.

What if a Spirit of Generosity reached a tipping point?

It bothers me that in the majority of the noise I hear on the news, you can feel the anger. This goes for the Left and the Right. Everyone is angry and mad as hell. Is that sword really going to make anyone change their tune?

I memorized this bible verse years ago, which says, by what a man is overcome, by this is he enslaved. The explanation given to me was in a negative light, that if you are overcome by alcohol, then you are enslaved to alcohol, if you are overcome by Greed, then you are a slave to possession. I affirm that this would be a true conclusion, but could it work in the converse? Just as a person can be overcome by Evil, can a person be overcome by Good? I see a lot of people overcome by anger and rage at the Greed that pervades our culture, but what would happen if a movement of people was overcome by Generosity?


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