Good and Beautiful and Kind

Good and Beautiful and Kind 

Rich Villodas recently published his second book, Good and Beautiful and Kind: Becoming Whole in a Fractured World (Waterbrook, 2022).  Brooklyn-born, Rich Villodas serves as the lead pastor of New Life Fellowship in Elmhurst, Queens.  In his Introduction, Pastor Villodas lists goodness, beauty, and kindness as three realities of God’s presence.  However, to live a good and beautiful and kind life requires the hard work of looking within.  Thus, this process doesn’t happen overnight.  Because no shortcut to love exists.  In addition, the author describes love as the fulfillment of faith and sin as the negation of faith.  Hence, when we expand our understanding of sin, we can better assess our spiritual health.  So, the world moves toward wholeness as we lovingly acknowledge our sins and mistakes before God and one another.

Furthermore, to love well requires patient exploration of the stories beneath us.  We stumble toward wholeness through compassionate confrontation of our wounds and trauma.  And by the grace of God, our trauma need not consume us.  Rather, it can be redeemed.  Most significantly, God lives only in reality.  Therefore, we must face the truth about ourselves and open that part of our life to God.  One way to accomplish this involves contemplative prayer.  This way of praying positions us to grow in awareness of God’s nearness.  As a result, our aim is to simply be with God, not to do for Him or gain something from Him.  Often we see the impact of this type of prayer in retrospect, so we need to persevere.

As we allow our fragility to lead us, we find our life marked by internal freedom.  Consequently, when you live freely from the depths of God’s presence, there’s nothing for you to protect, process, or prove.  Also, a healthy soul is willing to be curious, open, teachable, and humble.  For those who confess their blindness see, but those who claim to see find themselves truly blind.  In addition, calm presence reflects the natural outflow of a life marked by humility and contemplative prayer.  Living in this manner takes seriously the feelings, dreams, preferences, and values that live within the centered person.  Thus, it’s critically important to pay attention to the anxious forces within and without us.

In conclusion, Pastor Villodas counsels, conflicts are normal, disappointments real.  But – so is God’s grace.  Hence, the author defines the act of forgiveness as marked by lament, anger, grace, and forgiveness.  Extend forgiveness in ways that honor your dignity, attend to your wounds, and reflect the gracious God revealed in His Son.  A holy, redemptive act requiring careful attention to the many layers at work within your soul.  Above all, on the cross Jesus showcased preemptive forgiveness – to people not looking for it.  To live in love and pour it out to others is found in healing our image of God.  Finally, as we abide in the love of Jesus, we find ourselves slowly, patiently, growing good and beautiful and kind.

About the author

Dave Henning

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