Focus on the Good
Have you seen the news lately? Oh how tempting it is for us humans to focus on the bad! In some weird way it seems to fill us up for a short time; bad news or events infuse us with feelings of anger, injustice, or even hatred, but the emotions are raw, real, and powerful – perhaps even satisfying or addicting in a perverse way. It may even feel good to see our enemies or those we disagree with suffering, or to remain angry and hurt at others because we feel they don’t deserve our forgiveness.
But soon afterward the ‘high’ wears off, and the ugliness of focusing on the negative sets in. Our mood is soured, our talk is peppered with unpleasantness and sarcasm, and our ability to be thankful for our blessings is squelched. The toxicity of anger, frustration, and bitterness makes us very unhappy people and ruins any witness we have to those around us, especially our family, friends, and co-workers. The enemy then has us right where he wants us!
So what can we do to get back on track? Let’s take a look at a few verses:
Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Colossians 3:1-2: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
1 Thes 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Romans 12:2: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Ephesians 4:29: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Centering our thoughts and talk on delightful things not only honors God, but it also fills our lives with joy and blesses everyone around us. The bad news on TV or Twitter becomes mere noise and far less interesting. Politics seems to have less importance because we have our sights on our eternal home. And people around us seem to be more important and precious than ever, even if we disagree with them.
Finally, don’t forget to ask God for help. It’s not easy being human! Yet, God gives wisdom generously to everyone who asks and believes (James 1:5-6). And that wisdom includes a host of blessings that are incredibly joyful!
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:17-18