We are working our way back into the school routine; enjoying this time when school has started yet our evenings are not yet filled with practices, lessons and meetings. My little family has eaten dinner together at our table 5 of the last 8 nights! That may be a record! What a blessing to have the time to sit together, share our days, and actually be able to listen to what each person has to say!
Of course, if you take the time to share about your day, this must include the positive and the negative. My son has a guilty conscious; I’ve written about it before. (See A GUILTY CONSCIOUS.) I thought maybe it was a phase, but it continues even now. When we sit down to dinner and ask how his day was, he kicks off with a roll call of all the bad things he did, or thought, or saw someone else do. For some reason he must acknowledge the bad before rejoicing in the good.
I’m all for fostering an atmosphere of honesty and openness in our family – but come on buddy! Can we put our focus on the good things that happened today?!?
I must appreciate that he has the ability to recognize right from wrong. He is fighting human nature, and he really wants to do what is right. I don’t know if I have the heart to tell him that this is not something that gets easier with age – fighting right from wrong in our thoughts and actions occurs even as an adult. Worse, the wrong we might be fighting against is likely more severe than the schoolyard problems I hear about from my 7-year-old.
Earlier this summer I was walking alone at camp. The sky was blue, the grass bright green with speckles of wildflowers. It was a stunning day, and I felt so connected to God and His creation. Then I came upon this tree. Smack dab in the middle of this meadow, high on a hill, was a very dead tree. I was captivated. I snapped a picture – the most memorable of the pictures I took on this walk….
Why, amongst all this beauty, creation and LIFE, did my focus fall on the ugly, dead thing? Like the urge to stare at a car accident, we naturally veer towards evil.
Why do we let the bad take over? Why do we ignore the good? Why aren’t WE the good?!?
In a world filled with evil things, it takes focus, commitment and deliberate action to veer towards good – or better yet, create the good amongst the bad!
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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:13-14
So these are the things I must say to my son – and myself. Acknowledge the bad, but seek the good. Then use God’s peace dwelling within you to BE THE GOOD for others!