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[adapted from The God of Miracles]

In this day and age and this time when so many are angry and insulting in the public discourse remember that the wrath of man does not bring the righteousness of God -- quite the opposite.

However "right" you are, you are wrong, in most cases, as soon  as you get angry with someone.

Joy cuts a huge swath through even a landslide of negativity.

I know this from personal experience. One time out of the blue a company that was funding a major project of mine suddenly killed the project. It was no minor thing. In fact, most men who have to support their families would have found it devastating. At many times in my life, I would have also reacted that way. It would have been a tragedy! I had been working on this project for a year Ė had traveled around America and from Europe to Japan researching material for it Ė and it was to provide enough money for our family to live on for at least three years. In fact, it was the most money I had ever been offered. When it fell through I took the joyful approach, all but totally ignored the "evil report," and surrendered. Those who knew about it were confused by my response Ė it seemed like a cruel injustice had been committed against us Ė but almost immediately a far greater project came my way.  

I canít tell you how great it was to rise above that "cloud of darkness"!

There are no clouds when we take flight with the God of miracles.

Smile at those who detest you, send joy to those who persecute you, and your enemies will be made into your footstools. As Scripture advises, "let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might" (Judges 5:31).

When compassion is around us and when it is projected to others, it disarms even those who are hostile. The ultimate example was Jesus.

The key is to approach every person with a smile. Mother Teresa said that "holy living consists of doing Godís work with a smile." She also said that the smile on a child was Godís love. Let us imitate the angels, who are usually described with a smile and whose love radiates a sense of strength.

A smile is a powerful spiritual tool, announces that we are of a benevolent disposition (when there is true emotion behind it), and allows us to stop focusing so much on ourselves. Itís only when we have pride that we become sullen and engulfed in depression, which comes from self-absorption.

If we have abandoned ourselves, and eliminated the "self" (with joy), weíre not concerned about being "insulted."

An insult can only take hold if there is pride.

It is also the fuel of discord. We have insecurities when we have pride, which cause us to "clamp up." We frown. We withdraw. Those with ebullient, outgoing personalities break down the pretensions of those who otherwise would be insulting. It keeps away the enemy because joy springs from love, love is God, Who is also Light, and light dispels darkness.

Being nice is important in spiritual development, glorifies the Lord, and unlocks the door to what God has in store for us.

It means to be considerate. It means to see through the eyes of those we encounter.

It means to place others ahead of ourselves.

And it means mundane things like being punctual. To be kind is to be considerate, helpful, and make every effort to lift another personís day Ė to affect other lives for the better.

We could change the world if this happened with just a small percentage of us. There is the "chain reaction" mentioned by a woman named Barbara from Long Island, New York, who during her near-death experience saw a "circle of light" around the world which was enhanced every time she was nice to her kids and husband and which darkened when she was not.

That "circle" operates in both the natural and the supernatural. On the invisible level, niceness generates a light that revolves around our existence, swathing us with a band of goodness.

The light reflects on our physical being and makes us attractive.

Didnít you ever notice how beautiful a holy person looks even if he or she is not actually physically "attractive"?

We can all do that. Anytime goodness is projected, it has an actual force. Goodness creates light around us (as well as the world), and we can tap into that -- while negativity adds to darkness and causes us to tap into the negative. Is there righteous indignation? That's different. That's not antagonistic.

Goodness erases the "circle of dark," and it also operates on a practical level.

Think of it: when you let someone in front of you, that person is far more prone to take similar action with someone else. There is an atmosphere of niceness. We feel better, and in the realm of the supernatural, we actually cause a light to shine from God .

Through our own cells and tissues flows a healing power.

[resources: The God of Miracles]

[See also: Maryland-D.C.-Virginia retreat, May 8]

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