Living in Such a Way that Contributes to Life
Marshall Rosenberg, founder of Nonviolent Communication (also known as giraffe language), in a workshop I attended defined good and evil in a way that helps us to see beyond the good and evil paradigm.
He said that he defined good as that which serves life and evil as that which does not serve life. Many times we see things as good and evil and then categorize individuals as good or bad and in so doing create enemy images of others. By defining good and evil as Rosenberg does we do not have to judge others but can determine if their actions are serving life or not.
Many times when we see someone as bad or evil we automatically think of them as the enemy, a monster, or scum. This triggers anger and rarely ever leads to change or connection with the individual. Many times it leads to war. I think this is why Jesus said, "Do not judge."
Instead of picking sides we can simply evaluate if we or others are serving life or not. Then we can make suggestions for ourselves or others to do things that will help us or them to serve life. When I started to look at things in this way, I started to evaluate if my actions and my life were serving life. Every moment of every day we can ask ourselves, "Is what I am doing serving life?"
And if we happen to fall short we no longer need to judge ourselves and beat ourselves up by telling ourselves that we are bad. Instead we simply mourn our actions that are not serving life and make the adjustments necessary to get our life on track. It is when we say things like, "I am so horrible" that we get in trouble.
We can also evaluate if corporations, schools, churches and businesses are serving life or not. Rosenberg states that when it comes to doing things for the right motivation (to serve life) in the business world "we must be concerned that our product serves life. That our motive is not to make money but to serve life." He adds, "Don't ever, ever do anything for money but request money to meet your need for meaning."
When what we are doing is serving life we have a sense of purpose that brings peace and harmony to our life. Max Lucado writes in The Applause of Heaven, "There are certain things that you can do that no one else can. Perhaps it is parenting, or constructing houses, or encouraging the discouraged. There are things that only you can do, and you are alive to do them. In the great orchestra we call life, you have an instrument and a song, and you owe it to God to play them both sublimely."
The world needs us to find our gift or talent and the world waits expectantly for us to not only find it but to use it to contribute to life. May your life be one that is serving life and is bringing you and others joy. May you find the strength to let go of the habits, hang ups, and/or patterns of life that do not serve life and find joy in giving.
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