Man can learn self-discipline without becoming ascetic; he can be wise without waiting to be old; he can be influential without waiting for status. Man can sharpen his ability to distinguish between matters of principle and matters of preference, but only if we have a wise interplay between time and truth, between minutes and morality.
Some find it easier to bend their knees than their minds. Exciting exploration is preferred to plodding implementation; speculation seems more fun than consecration, and so is trying to soften the hard doctrines instead of submitting to them. Worse still, by not obeying, these . . . lack real knowing. Lacking real knowing, they cannot defend their faith and may become critics instead of defenders!
Yet, seeing this ingratitude of those who are without perspective should not cause us to make reflexive rejoinders to unbelievers. Rather, we, for our part, ought to contemplate how truly deep God's commitment to free agency must be, how truly deep (and unpossessive) his love for his children must be to allow us to err, to fail, to learn, and to grow. And how wonderful is his refusal to impose, by his power, a faith that otherwise seems to come so slowly and to so few when men are left free. Sensing, even on such a small scale, these divine commitments ought to help us to reflect them in our lives. If we are tempted to unwise responses because of our small-scale frustrations with those who are ungrateful, with those who misuse their gifts, lo, how much greater the sense of disappointment at the divine level is. And yet his commitment to free agency remains intact, and his love, justice, and mercy continue even for those who defy their Father.
It is understandable how some people could give way to this kind of pervasive pessimism, but we speak of a gospel which brings good tidings of great joy and this must be reflected in our lives, if we are to be believable especially as we suggest to others that there is, in fact, not only a better way, but also the way. Scriptures that speak of man as a being who "might have joy" have more impact when falling from the lips or pens of men and women whose lives give fresh evidence of the validity of that scripture.
Just as meekness is in all our virtues, so is pride in all our sins. Whatever its momentary and alluring guise, pride is the enemy, "the first of the sins." One reason to be particularly on guard against pride is that "the devilish strategy of Pride is that it attacks us, not in our weakest points, but in our strongest. It is preeminently the sin of the noble mind." Not only of the noble mind, but also of the semi-righteous.