Confucius says …

“To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.”

That sounds like a modern conservative evangelist speaking. Any thoughts? Charles Dobson? Jerry Falwell? Pat Robertson? R.C. Sproul?

Surprise! It was Confucius, about 2,500 years ago.

The quote sort of appeared today. I didn’t go looking for it. In fact, when I first read it, I didn’t even know it was attributed to Confucius.

But it struck me the problems — of the world … of the nation … of the family … of our personal lives — really do all trace back to the recesses of our heart. We do have to put our heart in order before we can possibly move on to solving other weightier issues.

What does that mean?

I said it before, but it’s worth repeating. We have to let out the hurt and the anger and the disappointment and the fear so we can let in the grace of God. We have to slow down and be still and listen to the whispers of God {or sometimes shouts}. We have to soften the hardness of our hearts.

That softness will help us cultivate our personal life and our interpersonal skills. Ironically, others will recognize that softness as strength. They will — or should — see us looking outside our own selves and self-interest.

The first and pre-eminent place this shows up is in our families. As we start treating spouses, children and siblings with respect, they feel safe and protected. And, hopefully, that transcends outside the family and into the community. We’ve seen it countless times. We bicker and battle, but in times of need, we come together as a community. We’re able to put aside our differences by softening our hearts.

Strong communities spawn strong leaders who we hope also put their personal self-interests aside. That leads to a strong nation. And, of course, a strong nation can do wonders around the globe. We don’t have to agree, but we do have to lead with a soft heart, without self-interest, but rather for the common good.

Unfortunately, though, we are seeing less and less softening and more and more hardening. Maybe it’s time to listen to Confucius and get back to setting our hearts right. Maybe it’s time to listen to the prodding of God.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: You can’t change people. Only God can. But you can change yourself.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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