“Promote what you love, rather than bash what you hate.” I can’t tell you who said that originally, but I sure like it. I saw it on social media in reference to politics and the current election, but it is fitting for any setting that involves imperfect people working together for the common good. This is really just another way of saying, “focus on the positive, rather than the negative.” The Apostle Paul said it this way: “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8). Geez, that’s difficult to do! I think I do a pretty good job of not contributing to all the political and religious bashing that comes from both ends of the conservative/liberal spectrum. But just because I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut (mostly) doesn’t mean I’m not thinking bashing thoughts. I truly believe that thinking something is every bit as bad as saying it. I also believe that what we think has a profound effect on how we treat and interact with others. And in a world in which we are treating and interacting pretty badly with people who have different opinions, beliefs, or viewpoints than our own, we need to do a lot more working together for the common good. I know you’re probably thinking, “What can I do about it? I can’t change the way other people treat each other.” And you’re right. We can’t change the way other people treat each other. But we can change the way we treat other people. But it has to go a lot deeper than just holding our tongues. It has to come from within, beginning with the way we think. And that has to be intentional. I don’t know about you, but I don’t control or ask for every thought that comes into my head. But I have some control over what I do with those thoughts. If it’s a thought that is negative or critical of others, I can choose to dwell on that thought until I am bashing what I hate. Or I can choose to turn my thought to something honorable or just or pleasing until I am promoting what I love. And wherever my thoughts go, my actions will follow. We are imperfect people, but I think most of us truly do want the common good. Working toward that seems overwhelming, but it begins with each one of us, individually. No common good comes from bashing what we hate, whether in word or in thought. But common good improves with every word or thought that comes from love. Think about these things. Because, do we really want to keep going in the direction we are going?
Grace and peace,