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Benevolence

Benevolence is a word that we seldom hear used today. It means that someone who is benevolent has a disposition to do good and to treat others with kindness. A generous gift is a benevolent act.

People who are benevolent have somehow risen above their default human instinct. Naturally we are inclined to sacrifice the needs and wishes of others to benefit ourselves.

Jesus echoed the belief that a meaningful and purposeful life is based upon treating others with benevolence—as we would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12). In fact, he said that all of the teachings of Scripture and religion can be encapsulated in this one principle.

True spirituality is not about rigidly following religious rules or trying to earn enough brownie points with God so he has no choice but to let us through the “Pearly Gates.” The essence of religion is not about belonging to a select group of people who have hoodwinked themselves into being so nice they have forgotten how to be bad.

True religion springs from a heart that has been so touched by God’s benevolence that it radically changes and becomes a compelling force for good.

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference.

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