Edify: Being for something

It’s very easy to go through life defining ourselves by what we’re against. It’s easy because there is a long list of genuine evils in the world which we have a responsibility to fight. It’s easy because ours is an age of idolatry masquerading as ideology, and we have whole industries dedicated to selling outrage in support of those idols. It’s easy because of our fallenness — it’s just easier to do demolition than it is to do construction. It’s easy because our default stance as a culture is ironic detachment and postmodern deconstruction. In our cynicism, we’re often skeptical of earnestness. In our relativism, we’re often skeptical we can find any good to embrace.

But suppose that’s just a cruel trick that’s been played on us. Suppose a truly human life is characterized much more by what it’s for than by what it’s against, and by drawing us away from that orientation we are drawn into apathy and nihilism and hedonism and even despair.

When we wake up and start the day driven by what we’re for, by what we love, life is more joy-filled and peaceful and less angry and bored and likely to make us hit the snooze button, isn’t it?

What am I for? What’s worth spending a life on? Even a short list expands on examination into a full life. If I’m for God and for my family and friends, so much follows directly from those commitments. I must be for the weak and the poor, because God is. I must seek my own holiness because God does. I must be for my community because my family and friends need it for their thriving. Think, in turn, of how very much is entailed in each of those.

If I made a habit of doing everything I have to do in the day conscious of the loves for which I did them, I think my life would be better.

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