As the new year comes around and we are all awash in resolutions of self betterment, I’d like to propose two simple resolutions that we all can take to heart. They come from the Old Testament book of Micah and from the philosopher, Confucius.
Micah asked, “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Confucius counseled his followers to “bring peace to the old, have trust in your friends, and cherish the young.”
These have been my guiding principles in life for many years now. And though I do not always live up to their lofty possibilities, I can easily embrace their simple, practical challenges in my ordinary, everyday life.
Too often we try to embark upon tasks of self-transcendence and self-perfection. These are surely noble in intention, and no great work is done without the positive intention. But sometimes we must be satisfied to embrace the simple opportunities that are placed before us. These words of Confucius and Micah shine a light on these opportunities.
So I offer them to you as quiet reminders of the possible, and hope that you, too, will take them to heart. We can try to be great, but, often, it is enough to be good. Making these our resolutions will move us closer to the good.
Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Bring peace to the old, have trust in your friends, and cherish the young.
These should be resolutions enough for any of us in this new year.
May 2004 go well for all of you.