Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I am all shouted out. Social media, television news, even sports radio, for Pete’s sake, is filled with angry people ranting about politics, religion, the economy, and even football. I am not even going to rehash any of the issues, you all know what they are, and I am out of bandwidth for all this vitriol. (Although, for the record, the Saints got robbed, man. I sure would have loved to see them up against my beloved Patriots.)
I feel battered. Just from casual conversations, I know that I am not alone. It has been like getting caught into a rip current that is sweeping us out over our heads.
A preacher I once heard taught that if it made it into the Bible, then it is something that the Good Lord knew that all future generations would need to read.
Clearly, this is not the first time humans have all gotten under each other’s skins. Back in the day, the folks in Philippi found themselves at the point where they Could Not Even. Paul hit them with a truth bomb. What you think about matters. What you think about changes you. If you want to change for the better, think about better stuff.
You cannot swim across a rip current, it will just pull you farther out to sea, and exhaust you in the process. You have to swim along it, then angle yourself to ride the tide back into shore. So, I know that I cannot keep arguing with strangers on FaceBook or screaming at the evening news. It is exhausting me and turning me into the very thing I am fighting against.
That does not mean I am quitting the good fight. I will not stick my head in the sand and forget about the very real, very important issues of our day. We all still need to advocate for the poor and the oppressed. We still need to fight abuse in our churches, government, and community. We still need to be a voice for the voiceless.
It’s just that I need a lens angle shift. How about you?
The scripture admonishes us to think about the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Make a list. Count your blessings. As the psalmist says, “meditate on them day and night.”
So, in all of the bluster, I need to find the truth in the stories, align myself with the folks in the fights that are noble and admirable, call out the lovely, beautiful things people are doing. Think about such things.