Many people have come up with suggestions on how to live the good life. But I think there really is a simple formula. It all boils down to three steps...
1. Decide to love unconditionally
I used to work with an organization that reached out to young people. Each week, when new students were brought in, the one thing I would say was that there was nothing they could do to earn my trust, respect, or love. People are generally told that you have to ‘earn’ someone’s trust and respect. And here I was telling them that they would never accomplish that with me. I’d then explain, “You cannot earn my trust, respect, and love because all of these possessions of mine are invaluable.” I told the students that while they could not earn them, I would freely give my trust, respect, and love to them. Then the responsibility was theirs as to whether or not they would continue to possess them or end up losing them. I told them that they could lose my trust and respect based on their actions toward themselves and others. But under no condition would I stop loving them. I choose to love unconditionally.
2. Forgive easily
Walking in forgiveness is, in reality, a selfish decision. I know that sounds backwards, but the act of forgiving someone is intended to release two people – the offender AND the forgiver. Christ instructed His followers to forgive others so that they could realize forgiveness for themselves. Some people offend repeatedly and seem to do so with no regard for the impact it has on others. That’s why it’s so important to retain complete control of the decision to forgive.
3. Obey freely
There are so many laws, ordinances, and rules in place to govern our lives. At times, they seem to contradict each other. So how do we know which ones to obey? In each of us there is a ‘center line’ or an ‘inner voice’ that lets us know when things are right or wrong. The closer we stick to that line, the easier it is to know when, what, and who we are to obey. Unfortunately, if our habit has been to ignore that prompting in the past, it is often difficult to choose the right response. If we slow down and really listen, however, the right decision is always present.