Kind

Back to 7 sins and friends, virtues and views. I am behind on the Blogging from A to Z, sick yesterday. When I overdo I get a massive headache, nausea and have trouble standing upright.

Are you kind? Kindness is one of the Seven Heavenly Virtues, to oppose the sin of envy.

And that is interesting. Dictionary.com lists the following for kind:

adjective, kinder, kindest.

1. of a good or benevolent nature or disposition, as a person:
a kind and loving person.

2. having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence:
kind words.

3. indulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane (often followed by to):
to be kind to animals.

4. mild; gentle; clement:
kind weather.

5. British Dialect. loving; affectionate.

But it lists the antonym as cruel, not envious.

Have the words changed meaning? Do you think of kindness as the opposite of envy? Does envy lead us to be cruel?

I took this photograph in the fading light and so it is soft and grainy. I am thinking that for me walking outside and going to nature is healing. Walking in the beauty of the earth and the evening night falling, it feels as if the earth itself is kind. I don’t think any feeling is evil: but I would rather manage envy on my own. I would rather act on kindness.

 

just

Justice is one of the Seven Virtues, from one of two lists. This is one of the four cardinal virtues extolled by Aristotle and Plato. Do you feel just?

Just from dictionary.com

adjective

1. guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness:

We hope to be just in our understanding of such difficult situations.

2. done or made according to principle; equitable; proper:

a just reply.

3. based on right; rightful; lawful:

a just claim.

4. in keeping with truth or fact; true; correct:

a just analysis.

5. given or awarded rightly; deserved, as a sentence, punishment, or reward:

a just penalty.

6. in accordance with standards or requirements; proper or right:

just proportions.
7. (especially in Biblical use) righteous.
It is also an adverb.
This is from the list that does not match to the Seven Sins. Is being just a value for you, a virtue? And if so, which meaning? One person can be talking about the law while another is talking about fairness and they can be taking opposite sides. Would you say that you are a just person? And again, which meaning has the highest value for you?
I took the photograph in 2009 at the National Junior Synchronized Swimming competition. We hope that judging is just and fair and the rules are applied in sports and by the legal system.

 

innocent

For Blogging from A to Z, the letter I. My theme is Virtues and Views. I am writing about emotions for the second year in a row: last year I for introverted. This year I am think about innocence and feeling innocent.

How often do you feel innocent as an adult? And how often did you as a child?

My memory has painted this picture of my daughter as messier than the actual picture. I give her a chunk of banana for the first time and let her feed herself. She holds the banana and squeezes it through her fist and puts her fist to her mouth and waves her hands with joy! She is only a few months old and not sitting unsupported. The thumb and finger pincer grip develops at around 9 months. Before that, it is a sweeping fist that soon goes to the mouth. And the fists are not terribly well under control at first. But, she manages to get more than half the banana chunk into her mouth bit by sticky bit, and the rest all over her. She is tired in this picture and very satisfied. She is  innocent of feeding herself and decorating herself with banana before this day.

After she fed herself she goes straight to the bath, a tired and happy baby.

 

greed

Virtues and views, 7 sins and friends, Blogging from A to Z. Last year I chose gluttony for the letter g, but greed is also there. Charity is listed as the virtue to oppose the sin of greed. How interesting, because I did not have those paired! I think of generosity as the opposite of greed, but I do understand placing charity there.

Webster 1913 Greed:

An eager desire or longing; greediness; as, a greed of gain.

Dictionary.com 2017 Greed:

noun

1. excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.

Webster 1913 Charity

1. Love; universal benevolence; good will.

Now abideth faith, hope, charity, three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1. Cor. xiii. 13.

They, at least, are little to be envied, in whose hearts the great charities . . . lie dead. Ruskin.

With malice towards none, with charity for all. Lincoln.

2. Liberality in judging of men and their actions; a disposition which inclines men to put the best construction on the words and actions of others.

The highest exercise of charity is charity towards the uncharitable. Buckminster.

3. Liberality to the poor and the suffering, to benevolent institutions, or to worthy causes; generosity.

The heathen poet, in commending the charity of Dido to the Trojans, spake like a Christian. Dryden.

4. Whatever is bestowed gratuitously on the needy or suffering for their relief; alms; any act of kindness.

She did ill then to refuse her a charity. L’Estrange.

5. A charitable institution, or a gift to create and support such an institution; as, Lady Margaret’s charity.

6. pl. Law Eleemosynary appointments [grants or devises] including relief of the poor or friendless, education, religious culture, and public institutions.

The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless, Are scattered at the feet of man like flowers. Wordsworth.

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So why is charity the virtue to balance greed? I am thinking of the Buddhist prayer: may all beings be safe. May all beings be peaceful. May all beings experience loving kindness. May all beings be free.

All beings. Not just the virtuous, not just the good, not the people of one race or one religion or one country. All beings and I think that is what charity and love really are. When we say “Not those kind of people!” we are separating and discriminating and labeling and we choose to keep charity from them: that is greed, too. More for us, less for them. They are bad, wrong, different, so we don’t have to share with them.

The Buddhist prayer is to be practiced towards a loved one, then a friend, then an acquaintance, then a stranger, someone we dislike, some one who has hurt us, and someone that we think (and here is gossip) is evil….progressively harder.

But what if someone HAS hurt us? How do we practice charity there?  Do we have to?

I return to a sermon on forgiveness: here, by Reverend Bruce Bode:

“Says Dr. Lewis Smedes in his book, Forgive and Forget:

When you forgive, you heal your hate for the person who created that reality. But you do not change the facts. And you do not undo all of their consequences. The dead stay dead; the wounded are often still crippled.”

Reverend Bode goes on to say:

“While I’m talking about what forgiveness is not, let me also make a distinction between forgiveness and reconciliation. The distinction is this: forgiveness opens the possibility of reconciliation with another, but it does not necessarily lead to reconciliation, and it is certainly not the same thing as reconciliation.

One can forgive and not reconcile. This is because reconciliation demands something from the other side, whereas forgiveness has to do with an internal process within a person.”

Charity, then, is more complicated than generosity, than romantic love, than love for one’s family and friends and community. It is the ideal of loving everyone, even those who have harmed us. Our ideal is for charity and forgiveness: and a hope for reconciliation. Charity is the opposite of greed.

faith

I am looking for my post from last year for f and it looks like I skipped f! Oh, woe is me! I thought I had completed the A to Z Challenge!

F for faith. Faith is one of the Seven Heavenly Virtues: prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude, faith, hope and charity. This is a different list from one that was written later to match and oppose the Seven Sins: chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility.

Both lists have charity and temperance in common, but the rest differ. Which list appeals to you most? If we combine them then we have 12 virtues.

I chose the 7 Sins last year as a theme to write about emotions. We don’t use the virtues as emotions as much. Who says “I am feeling diligent, temperant, just?”

And for faith, I walked two days ago. This tree was just starting to bud out: faith that spring will return, hope will return, justice will return, love will return, after the winter, after the war, after death and darkness and loss. Faith is spring and buds and flowers and the new green hope and joy.

ease

Feeling ease. Is that a virtue or a vice? What makes you feel at ease or relax or stretch langourously? Boa cat is enjoying spring sun through the window and warm fur on warm velvet.

For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, last year I chose envy. This year ease and rest and letting the muscles warm and stretch in the sun. I wish for some ease for all the children in the world, in frightening places or with frightening people, for some time of rest and warmth and safety and ease….

I am supposed to be at letter G today…. I will have to stop lying in the sun and get moving….it’s cloudy today anyhow.