Monday, June 13, 2011


In keeping with this month's theme of "THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS GOODNESS", I want to re-post something that is always good and important to be reminded of.  I seem to have mentioned Mother Teresa a lot lately in my teaching, and this awesome poem has become associated with her, so I want to look at it again. The Paradoxical Commandments is both a poem and a book by Kent M. Keith. He wrote the poem as an undergraduate, and it has spread around the world often in slightly altered form. In 1997, Keith learned that the poem "The Paradoxical Commandments" had hung on the wall of Mother Teresa's children's home in Calcutta, India, and two decades after writing the original poem, Dr. Keith wrote a book of the same title expanding on the themes of the poem: Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments: Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World. 

First, here's the Scripture text from yesterday's service:

Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
(Romans 12:20, 21 - The Message)

One form of The Paradoxical Commandments:

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;

Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,and it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,

it is between you and God;

It was never between you and them anyway.


Anonymous said...

Kelvin Mohammed said...

Thank you for sharing..

Anonymous said...

Linda M Curtis said...

SHE is the one person I beleive I would have made my way around the world to meet ~ doing HIS work w/♥ ... Just ♥

Avatar said...

"It was never between you and them anyway."

The importance of the horizontal part of the cross seems to negate the "letter" of this part of the poem. But the priority placement of remembering who matters "more" that the quote implies has given me strength to choose the "do it anyway" parts of this poem. Not always, but enough that I can say it truly made a difference in me when I did.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for these great ideas. Virtue is its own reward but a helping hand can produce many other good deeds.

Anonymous said...

Being between you and them and being between you and God...sounds identical to me...God always speaks in plurality (them, us, we) because WE are GOD...GOD is US...the secret is there is no's been there all along...recognize the WHO of WHO WE ARE...and thrive...