Don’t Go Through Life With Clenched Fists

Hi, friends. A few famous quotes involve the imagery of a clenched fist. Mahatma Gandhi said, “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” Mike Huckabee said, “The most powerful demonstration of leadership is not a clenched fist of brute force but an open hand of humble assistance.” Are we living with clenched fists?

We find ourselves in a paradoxical position in modern society; the world is more connected than ever, but we experience intense alienation/isolation. In my opinion, that’s one factor in the rise of suicide.

In a “History of Rhetoric” course, my professor explained how modern alienation originated. In ancient societies, people worked together more, and if almost everyone died (hypothetically), the few remaining people could rebuild society. In the modern era, everyone’s skills are distinct and specialized–none of us would have the faintest hope of rebuilding society even with lots of help. While the internet connects us, our individual pursuits compartmentalize us.

From my Christian standpoint, there’s another irony in all this: we are the most privileged people to ever walk the Earth, but we are incredibly self-absorbed. I won’t argue that we are more selfish than others before us–haven’t people always been sinful?–but it’s intriguing to imagine how much better off the people in the Bible would be if they had lights, AC, hospitals, computers, cars…

We live like ancient kings, and like oppressive rulers of the past, our fists are still clenched. I called this phenomenon ironic, but perhaps I was wrong–humans sinning is certainly not ironic. Whether we live in tents or mansions, humans will struggle to give. We will always struggle to give time, money, effort, patience, love, forgiveness, grace, etc. because we innately put ourselves first and justify our hard-heartedness…hence the continued relevance of the Parable of the Poor Widow.

Don’t go through life with clenched fists.

  • Rather than grumbling about being bothered “at the last minute,” do the favor for your friend or your mother or whoever with joy in your heart.
  • Rather than ignoring people’s pain to avoid an awkward conversation, engage them sincerely.
  • Let the person riding your bumper get in front of you without making a vulgar gesture; pray they don’t hurt someone.

Essentially, be generous and/or meek as often as possible. Prayer helps in those situations. This is the life we are called to lead in the Holy Spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

Have you been living with clenched fists? Is it because opening those fists requires serving others? Is it because you’re shallow and lazy? Remember…

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21, NIV)

Thanks for reading! God bless you!

21 comments

  1. Amen, Lily!!! Great thoughts!!! And some powerful quotes as well. You know recently, well for the past several months, I just get a thought of why Jesus chose the time period He lived in. I know there was a reason, and I think our modernism would hinder more people from hearing Christ had He of waited till now. It certainly hinders a lot already.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Superb post! A really excellently written piece with some great insights into generosity from a Christian perspective. I love the way you break up your posts with bullet-points and bold and quotes – it makes for much easier reading. And of course you’re using my favourite theme 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very insightful. I think part of why there’s this depression and isolation with as connected as we are is that it’s easier for people to curate a certain persona and put their best foot forward online. Not everyone does this obviously. But if you see a lot of people where all that gets shared is their victories, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy.

    With your idea about how a few people could have rebuilt ancient societies contrasted with our modern societies, are you familiar with the essay “I, pencil?”

    Like

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