Causes (November 1)


“When great causes are on the move in the world, stirring all men’s souls, drawing them from their firesides, casting aside comfort, wealth and the pursuit of happiness in response to impulses at once awe-striking and irresistible, we learn that we are spirits, not animals” (Winston Churchill).

A “CAUSE” IS A GOAL OR PRINCIPLE THAT ONE SERVES WITH DEDICATION. While our “cause-oriented” friends may be somewhat vexing at times, the fact remains: the ability to dedicate oneself to a cause is an ability only personal beings possess. It is one of our highest endowments, and we ought to appreciate this gift and use it wisely. More of us need to be people who are dedicated to a cause.

In these days when nobody seems to care about much of anything (except whether their bank account is growing), indifference and apathy are plagues upon our society. If those who care deeply about causes can be annoying, they are also refreshing. The zealots remind us of the power of passion, and they prick our conscience.

Do you have a cause you care about? Are you involved in it at a significant level? Most people have more than one cause, and if they are wise, they prioritize these, giving the lion’s share of their attention to the greater causes. Indeed, one mark of maturity is the wisdom with which we prioritize our causes. In our world, there are more things wrong than any one person can be actively concerned about, and we have to pick our battles. We don’t want to be guilty of majoring in minors, or giving first-rate devotion to second-rate causes. Most important, we must ensure that our causes are truly just and morally right — and that requires a deep, extraordinary honesty.

But finally, there is one other thing that must be said. It is not enough to be involved, and it is not enough to be involved in a cause that is just. We must also make sure that our involvement is implemented in an honorable way. The end does not justify the means, and we are not free to do “evil that good may come.” So once and for all, let us lay aside the foolish notion that things like gossip, innuendo, and mudslinging are excused if our cause happens to be a just one. The more just the cause, the more aboveboard our tactics must be.

“If a cause be good, the most violent attack of its enemies will not injure it so much as an injudicious defense of it by its friends” (Charles Caleb Colton).

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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