Jewels of Wisdom from Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Jewels of Wisdom from Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Over the past 40 years, Archbishop Tutu has been a beacon of wisdom, compassion and understanding in our often tumultuous world. In this article we have collected together just a few of the many inspiring words he has shared with the world over the years.

Goodness

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

Though wrong gratifies in the moment, good yields its gifts over a lifetime.

It may be a procession of faithful failures that enriches the soil of godly success. Faithful actions are not religious acts. They are not even necessary actions undertaken by people of faith. Faithful actions, whether they are marked by success or they end in failure, are actions that are compelled by goodness.

Human beings are fundamentally good. The aberration, in fact, is the evil one, for God created us ultimately for God, for goodness, for laughter, for joy, for compassion, for caring.

Love

In the end what matters is not how good we are but how good God is. Not how much we love Him but how much He loves us. And God loves us whoever we are, whatever we’ve done or failed to do, whatever we believe or can’t.

We are made for loving. If we don’t love, we will be like plants without water.

Hope

We all experience sadness, we all come at times to despair, and we all lose hope that the suffering in our lives and in the world will ever end. I want to share with you my faith and my understanding that this suffering can be transformed and redeemed. There is no such thing as a totally hopeless case. Our God is an expert at dealing with chaos, with brokenness, with all the worst that we can imagine. God created order out of disorder, cosmos out of chaos, and God can do so always, can do so now–in our personal lives and in our lives as nations, globally. … Indeed, God is transforming the world now – through us – because God loves us.

Life is more than breath and a heartbeat; meaning and purpose are the life of life.

Oneness

We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made for togetherness. We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome: black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, male, female, gay, straight, all, all, all. We all belong to this family, this human family, God’s family.

If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.

Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.

A person is a person through other persons; you can’t be human in isolation; you are human only in relationships.

We shall be free only together, black and white. We shall survive only together, black and white. We can be human only together, black and white.

It is through weakness and vulnerability that most of us learn empathy and compassion and discover our soul.

Gratitude

Suffering from a life-threatening disease also helped me have a different attitude and perspective. It has given a new intensity to life, for I realize how much I used to take for granted-the love and devotion of my wife, the laughter and playfulness of my grandchildren, the glory of a splendid sunset, the dedication of my colleagues. The disease has helped me acknowledge my own mortality, with deep thanksgiving for the extraordinary things that have happened in my life, not least in recent times. What a spectacular vindication it has been, in the struggle against apartheid, to live to see freedom come, to have been involved in finding the truth and reconciling the differences of those who are the future of our nation.

We were made to enjoy music, to enjoy beautiful sunsets, to enjoy looking at the billows of the sea and to be thrilled with a rose that is bedecked with dew… Human beings are actually created for the transcendent, for the sublime, for the beautiful, for the truthful… and all of us are given the task of trying to make this world a little more hospitable to these beautiful things.

(quotes compiled by Nancy Ammiano)

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