The Challenge


The Challenge
©2004 Gail Pursell Elliott

“When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

It has been said that all evil needs to prosper is for good people to do nothing.
Why would good people do nothing?
Perhaps it is because they feel that they can do nothing to change things.
Perhaps they feel that they should mind their own business.
Perhaps it is because they have enough to do without getting involved.
Taking a stand can be risky business.

Most of us believe that we know what evil outcomes look like, sound like, and feel like, but many of us don’t understand the process that leads to these outcomes.
We often do not know when we are participating in that process.
Have you ever played “ain’t it awful?” or “armchair quarterback on the world?”
Have you looked the other way when someone is being ridiculed or otherwise treated without respect?
These are obvious ways in which good people do nothing.

Some of the tools of evil are lies, deception, fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
Sometimes these tools can cause positive people to take negative action that they feel is justified.
Sometimes they cause good people to do nothing because evil inspires confusion.

The first front of this battle exists within us.
The challenge is to evaluate the basis of what we are thinking, saying, or doing.
Are our actions based on reactions to fear, uncertainty, or doubt?
Have we been taken in by appearances?
Are we participating in our own deception?
What we really want is to be true to ourselves, and sometimes that takes the greatest kind of courage.

The challenge is to base our thoughts, words and actions on what we believe to be true rather than reacting in-kind to negatives.
To make sure that what we do is based upon our own values and inner truth.
To be true to ourselves, we must first take the time to know what that truth is.
Being true to ourselves is holding on to our personal power.

When we do, we make our impact on the world in a positive way. The ripples fan out in all directions and it changes things for the better whether we ever see the results or not.
Being true to ourselves rather than reacting to circumstances is a profound exercise in truly minding our own business.

We may think that we have enough to do without getting involved. What we may not realize is that we are already involved. Everyone alive is very involved: leaving their mark, setting examples for others, impacting the world by either reacting to it or refusing to be distracted by it.

Being true to ourselves, holding on to our personal power, identity and inner integrity can be risky business. It is a challenge that all of us face.

We can allow evil to prevail by doing nothing or we can do something by finding our inner truth and being true to that vision.

The challenge is bondage or freedom. The choice and the power is ours.

Have a great day and be good to yourself. You deserve it!

Gail

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2 Responses to The Challenge

  1. Dennis Shaw says:

    It’s very difficult to deal with an in your face bully most days but it’s true you have to decided first that you will take a stand in those situations and speak out. Thanks Gail, for the reminders about some of the “why” we ought to take that stand.

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks. Good timing.
    I stood up and spoke out at work against the increasing involvement with the military industrial complex. Spending DoD money, glorifying war, treating us like soldiers (VP is Army man), using “defense” when they mean “offense,” etc.
    So “they” eliminated my position after 24 years. My colleagues were not amused either.

    “… Let me ask you one question
    Is your money that good,
    Will it buy you forgiveness,
    Do you think that it could?
    I think you will find
    When your death takes its toll
    All the money you made
    Will never buy back your soul…”

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