Act with Righteousness

Yael Eckstein  |  November 16, 2022

Giving Tuesday-Yael Eckstein gives food box to elderly Jewish woman.

The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
   its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. —
Isaiah 32:17

Peace, shalom, is a paramount value for both Christians and Jews. Explore this elusive attribute through my devotions and what we can learn about adding it to our lives, our relationships, and our world.

Have you ever noticed that some people have it easy in life, yet they are in constant tumult on the inside? Other people have their share of problems, and yet they are completely calm. The Rabbi of Kelm, a renowned 19th-century Russian teacher, used to say: “A person who has mastered peace of mind has gained everything.”

But how do we master peace of mind?

The Hebrew word for peace, shalom, derives from the word shalem, which means “whole” or “complete.” Inner peace doesn’t mean that life is easy or that we are oblivious to problems that need solving. It means that we are whole. Let me explain.

The great psychotherapist Viktor Frankl, who survived the Nazi concentration camps and authored the book Man’s Search for Meaning, wrote that we must always remember that we do not decide what the circumstances of our lives will be. Whether we will face tragedy or not on any given day is not up to us. The only thing we control is our own reaction, our choices, in the face of the circumstances.

Act with Righteousness

We live in a broken world. God has given us the mission to do everything in our ability to fix what is broken. Rather than bemoaning the problems we see or wishing them away, our task is simple. We must act with righteousness. Every act of righteousness brings the world one step closer to being repaired, to being whole.

This is the meaning of the verse in Isaiah which states: “The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.” The “fruit of righteousness,” the result of repairing what is broken in God’s world, is that the world is closer to shalom, to wholeness and perfection.

With this perspective, we need not fret over the imperfections of the world around us. Inner peace does not mean that we are oblivious to problems. It means that we are confident that we are working in the direction of shalom.

This is true with regard to private problems that we face, as well as acts of righteousness to address needs of others. Rather than bemoan what is wrong in any circumstance, we must calmly and confidently know that it is our task and purpose to do what is right in God’s eyes.

Your Turn:

Make peace a priority. Give yourself the time and space to practice shalom by connecting to God, letting go of control, and trusting in God’s ways daily. 

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