We have arrived at the year 2021.

Hopefully, we have, more than ever, recognised how fragile life can be.

We have, hopefully, understood better, how much we need each other, and how intertwined our lives are.

We breathe the same air, can infuse it with fragrance and inspiration for the other, and can, even unknowingly, pollute it for the other. Smiles can be contagious; laughs can be infectious; but COVID 19 and other agents of destruction and death can have the same effect.

It takes more energy, they tell us, to frown than to smile. I often think that it is harder work to hurt and harm than it is to help. Yes, it may take less self-control and it may seem easier in that it may demand less physical energy; but when we consider the residual stress that must remain, if we are truly human, it makes better sense for us to spend our energies in pursuit of good. The effects of altruistic endeavours endure for long, and even though the beneficiaries may not stop and think of who or what blessed them in the past, when people hurt, they continue to re-live pain and pass on its harmful effects. Evil lends to a never-ending circle of defeat. The anger and frustration that derives from wrong action exudes negative energies for time to come.

So, whether you are religious or not, I invite you to consider choosing to do right this year. And I do know One who enables all who have their mind set on doing what is right. For one thing, what is the right thing is not always immediately obvious since the long term consequences of our actions are not immediately obvious. But the One I speak of is all-knowing and completely wise. More than this, that One offers us indwelling wisdom to discern and available power to choose right. You see, the first order of business is to choose the right things and then to do these right things correctly. Many persons have concentrated on doing whatever they pursue in what they perceive to be the right way. They seek maximum efficiency in their pursuit. But because so often, the choice has not been right to start with, the effects are unpredictably disastrous.

When we start with infallible guidance to choose, even when we misunderstand that One’s directions, there is an offer of remission. Believers like me speak of confession. When we sincerely confess to the One whom we might have misunderstood (or sometimes stubbornly ignored) wrongs can be set right.

From experience, I can tell you that this is a less stressful way to live – knowing that I do not have to add indefinite stress to others through my pursuit of wrong choices. It makes life so much easier. I invite you to try. For 2021, just try and be surprised at how good doing good is!