Thursday, March 19, 2009

Remember That The Fire Is On The Inside

This is a Paper I am turning in tomorrow for Comp 2 (my intext citations are still in it)

The poem “The Paradoxical Commandments” has a very good message behind it, not only in words, but in the history that follows it. Believed by many to be a poem written by Mother Teresa entitled “The Final Analysis” it was actually just found hanging on her wall (Keith Anyway). The true author was Dr. Kent M. Keith, a Christian motivational writer and speaker, Harvard graduate and former Rhodes Scholar (Keith Do it, Anyway).

This poem gained most of its world fame by being posted on the wall in Mother Teresa’s first home for abandoned children in Calcutta. This version, known as “The Final Analysis” contained only eight of the ten original Paradoxical Commandments. These eight were reworded into a poem form for the children. Mother Teresa believed that these lines were key points to live by in our everyday lives. That is why she had them posted in the school for all to see (

The first Paradoxical Commandment is “People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway (Keith Paradoxical).” This line speaks about how people constantly live for themselves. People in general, don’t take time to think about others, they are mainly focused on what benefits them, and how they can be the best in the world. Even though people may be living in their own shell, focused on themselves, people who are Christians (which is who this is written for) are commanded to love people unconditionally. Jesus stated this in Mark 12:31, to “love your neighbor as yourself,” Jesus said this was second only to loving Him. Loving someone like we love ourselves may be more than we want to do in some situations, but even liking them is going to be better than hating them.

The second Paradoxical Commandment: “If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway. (Keith Paradoxical)” In times past, doing good deeds for people was an everyday occurrence. Today hearing of people helping others is practically unheard of. When a person commits a good deed today, people automatically perceive that they are doing it for personal gain. A person should never feel like they shouldn’t do a good deed because of the way their motives will be judged. They should feel open to doing good deeds whenever they feel like it.

Paradoxical Commandment number three says, “If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway (Keith Paradoxical).” When a person becomes successful they tend to gain friends who are only along for the ride. These people will latch on to a successful person, in hopes that their success will propel them on to greater things. No matter the types of people that follow a successful person, they should be driven to succeed anyway.

The fourth Paradoxical Commandment states: “The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway (Keith Paradoxical).” When a person does a good deed it may be noticed, but it won’t always be remembered. The drive to do good within a person should never die, regardless of whether their actions will be remembered, they should do good deeds.

The fifth Paradoxical Commandment says: “Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway (Keith Paradoxical).” People who are open and honest in many situations tend to get their ideas obliterated by the more conservative individuals in a group. Many people’s fear of rejection keeps them from being honest and truthful. One of the Ten Commandments is “Thou Shall Not Lie.” If a person is being untruthful then they are sinning, according to the New Testament “The wages of sin is death,” people don’t want to die, so any person, Christian or non-Christian should want to tell the truth. Regardless of how people respond to the truth, it is better to be truthful than to keep something hidden in hopes to avoid confrontation.

Paradoxical Commandment number six states: “The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway (Keith Paradoxical).” Big ideas come to people every day, but there are people who are continually there to find a reason to not implement the idea. People shouldn’t let others bring them down, they should have enough confidence in themselves to do what they think should be done.

The seventh Paradoxical Commandment is: “People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway (Keith Paradoxical).” There are always people in life who are ready to pledge support for the underdogs, but when it comes time to fully commit to the underdogs cause, they back out and stick with the known leader. There are days when the underdogs win; people should have enough faith to fight for a few of those underdogs.

The eighth Paradoxical Commandment states: “What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway (Keith Paradoxical).” There is always uncertainty in life, nothing is guaranteed, people shouldn’t be fearful. People should be willing to take risks and do things, even though there is a possibility for failure.

Paradoxical Commandment number nine says: “People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway (Keith Paradoxical).” This can be related back to people drowning. When a lifeguard comes to save a person, they tend to fight against the lifeguard and try to pull them down with them. The lifeguard is still there to rescue them from peril; people should be willing to do the same thing.

The final Paradoxical Commandment is: “Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway (Keith Paradoxical).” This final Commandment alludes to the fight that it takes to get to the top. When someone is trying their hardest, giving their best, trying to make their way to the top, they get kicked around. A person should continue trying their best in everything, regardless of how the world treats them.

The resounding message throughout the poem is to give your best, no matter the situation. To continue fighting for what you believe in, no matter the adversity. Things aren’t always perfect, in fact they’ll never be perfect, but there is always hope. People should do what they believe in, regardless of how others react. We aren’t supposed to allow what others do to affect us, we should remember that it was our choice to be the way that we are, and nothing should change that.

(title from The House That Fire Built by Mae)

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Great reminder of the need to give our best in all situations and to go against the flow of the modern thought that self gratification is all that matters. Very humbling to consider that Christ was willing to do it anyway!