During this past election cycle I was struck with the amount of negativity that surrounded most of the campaigns. The incessant commercials and robo calls became a form of slander to justify a means of getting elected for office. I don’t know anyone who looked forward to hearing these messages over and over, yet our ears became used to the same old tirades against the opponents. I felt disheartened and saddened that our so-called leaders would stoop to such despicable means in order to become our civil servants. I only wish that this kind of negative speech was limited to political campaigns every two or four years. However, the poison of negative speech is spreading across humanity. Or has it been there all along and I am just now becoming more keenly aware of it?
Encouraging and uplifting words are hard to come by these days. Kindness, humility, and respect for our fellow man are becoming fleeting virtues and I miss them. They are being replaced by pride, greed, selfishness and a critical spirit. I find myself repeatedly asking, “What happened?” Why have so many people embraced, perhaps unwittingly, this idea that putting yourself first is satisfying? I know that whenever I’ve done that, I have felt terrible and nothing good has ever come from it. Giving has always proven to be so much better than receiving. Patting someone on the back has always felt better than stabbing the same.
I have often thought that one of the main reasons why those who are intent on destroying someone’s name or reputation is that they must think so little of themselves. They don’t respect themselves for a variety of reasons, therefore, they know little of respect for another human being. They function and are fed by gossip, rumors, and other negative speech. Is there an antidote for someone who truly desires to change this kind of behavior? And is there hope for someone who is in this kind of environment? Yes, there is hope! There’s always hope!
I believe that having an attitude of gratitude is the best medicine for the negativity sickness. Complaining, criticizing, judging, and making excuses for our own weaknesses is bad for the heart and bad for the soul. It hardens us and makes us less sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit. We can be sorely tempted to drown out that small whisper of a voice and give in to our selfishness. Yet we must try to follow what we know is good and right.
Because it is the month of November and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, it is traditional for us to stop and give thanks to God for all His blessings. We take that one day to ponder all the goodness and beauty in our lives and gather with our loved ones to have a most enjoyable day. What if we made Thanksgiving Day a daily event? Ok, we wouldn’t have to eat turkey every day, but could we be thankful for the food on the table? Can we be thankful that we had money to buy our basic essentials? Can we have a grateful heart for a roof over our heads, and gas in the old clunker? Oh, we have a newer car? That’s another thing for which to be thankful. Get the idea? You know that cranky co-worker? Have you ever tried to tell her or him what a good job she or he has done on something? Have you stopped to thank someone who gets very little attention? What about the brother or sister that hasn’t spoken to you in years? Have you tried to write a note asking for forgiveness and let bygones be bygones?
Let’s all try to make a sincere effort to turn every negative thought into something positive and good. It is true that we are living in very difficult times and it’s not easy being joyful. The economy is bad, people are without work, money is tight, yet we as a country, as God’s people, are so incredibly blessed in immeasurable ways. I truly believe that an attitude of gratitude is so desperately needed today and that it can change our own little world in which we live.
"Lord God, forgive us for the times we have taken so many blessings for granted. Forgive us for not seeing the good in others and not finding value and worth in each person we encounter. Help us to see them through Your eyes, to hear them with Your ears, and to love them with Your heart. May we be ever aware of Your presence wherever we are and in every circumstance, knowing that You are working everything out for our good. And, oh yes, thank You.”