Feb 12, 2013

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MEDITATION: A mirror in which to measure ourselves

Seek good, and not evil, that you may live (Amos 5:14).

A friend sent me this meaningful quote during the week. It was written by the well known Indian leader and philosopher Mahatma Gandhi.

While reading it, I became convinced that this simple piece of writing is of immense importance for our own society today – one which can serve as a value index for each member of our society, a measuring guage for the moral quality and standard of our lives.

The quote deals with what Gandhi calls the seven great social sins to which a society is continuously exposed and which threaten to erode its social stability and moral foundations. For him they were the following:
•        Politics without principles
•        Wealth without work
•        Pleasure without conscience
•        Knowledge without character
•        Commerce without morality
•        Science without humanity
•        Worship without sacrifice

All these sins are of course just as present and operative as in Gandhi’s time. Personally I could not avoid being disturbed by some of them, knowing that they are real temptations in my own life.

Like worshipping or confessing my faith without the willingness to sacrifice or to lead a life of total commitment and obedience to God. Also, the temptation of greed and of obtaining money in a quick and often unethical way. Or of being so proud of your own achievements, your education, knowledge or privileges, that you start looking down on others.

It will be good to constantly keep this list of sins in mind, almost like a mirror in which to gaze, partly to estimate our own failures, but also to value our own God given opportunities and talents and in this way make a positive contribution and difference to our society where almost all these abovementioned social sins are currently flourishing.

Because South Africa today needs honest people with a strong social conscience. People who avoid evil and simply seek to do good.

Carel Anthonissen

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