A Give and Take World

recipThe world in which we live seems to be more take than give.  The focus is more on what I can take from you than on what I can contribute; in a conversation, it’s more talk than listen; and in the marketplace, it’s more sabotage than service.

Mark Twain aptly said, “The principle of give and take is the principle of diplomacy— give one and take ten.”

The words of Twain are the motto of many, and they are akin to a concept called reciprocity. While the word may be little spoken, it is more than lightly practiced. Reciprocity is the ledger book of the mind that keeps a tab on indebtedness—Who do I owe and who owes me?

Reciprocity is the tally sheet of guilt and entitlement:

  • A person who believes he has received too much and given to little may feel a sense of guilt.
  • When a person thinks, he has given too much and received too little he may believe he is entitled to more, i.e. more money, recognition, etc.

If you are dissatisfied with your lot in life, I encourage you to consider three questions before you take any action:

  • What is it that I wanted but did not get?
  • What is it that I got but did not want?
  • Am I thinking in terms that embody the Christian ethic of the Golden Rule?

While turning the other cheek, loving your neighbor as yourself, and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, are laughable to some, they are principles that need to be removed from the shelf, dusted off, and put into practice.

As Paul said, we need to, Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together. . . Banish bitterness, rage and anger, shouting and slander, and any and all malicious thoughts—these are poison.  Instead, be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you (Ephesians 4).

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it.

 ~Mark Twain

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