Are You Fun to be Around?

If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval of God, fix your minds on the things which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good. (Phil 4:8, Phillips)

 Whoever seeks good finds it, but evil comes to one who searches for it. (Prov. 11: 27, NIV)

“If you look for the bad in folks, expecting to find it, you surely will.” (Abraham Lincoln)

 Three Wise Guys: Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative is the counsel of three very smart men, Paul, Solomon and Lincoln. The payoff is a) God’s approval, b) a happier life c) more fun to be around. It’s not easy for me to keep up my PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) in such a broken world filled with flawed people, especially yesterday, when I was….

Mr. Grumpy Sourpuss. One thing after another irritated me and poor Charlene got the brunt of it. After another critical outburst, I asked God and my wife to forgive me, but then hopped right back onto the grumps wagon. What was wrong with me? That night, on the outs with myself, I did a spiritual inventory, and then it hit me. All day I’d been dealing with chronic pain and bad news from the doctor. God seemed to say, “Give yourself a break, Son and do better tomorrow.” I made peace with myself, slept soundly and Charlene will tell you I’m much more fun to live with today. (I checked).

Progress not Perfection. Some people seem to get up on the wrong side of the bed every day. Who knows what handicaps they are facing? Maybe we need to give them a break. C.S. Lewis wrote that some non-Christians with healthy livers may be more pleasant to live with than a Christian who fights dyspepsia every day.  AA has a motto, “Don’t compare, identify”. If we do compare let’s do a “before and after” with folks. Are they progressing, or are they stuck in their negative funk? That goes for us too.   

Are We the World’s Light or Moral Policemen? I use to believe it was my Christian duty to point out the errors of other believers and society’s moral flaws. Some churches encourage their flock to police public morality. I fell into that trap, but found fruit inspectors aren’t much fun to be around. In fact, Jesus never taught that and even warned against it. “Don’t try to remove your brother’s flaw until you’ve dealt with that bigger one in your own life.” (Matt. 7:4, Our paraphrase)  and “Before you criticize your brother, think about how that judgment will come back on your own head.” (Matt 7:2, Phillips)

 If anyone had a right to criticize, it was Jesus, but he was surprisingly positive. Unlike Moses, who returned from his mountain top experience with a tablet full of negatives (“thou shall not’s”) Jesus’ mountain message was filled with ways to be supremely happy (Beatitudes). How can we wiggle out of His call to a PMA after reading such words of Paul? Rejoice in the Lord always…Don’t worry about anything…I have learned to be content, whatever my circumstances? (Phil 4 KJV and Phillips)

God Don’t Make No Junk. While drawing a heart, half of it white for good and half black for bad, Lucy lectures, “These are the two sides of the human heart, Charlie Brown. They’re  at war with each other.” Charlie grabs his chest with an anguished expression, “Yes, I can feel them fighting in there now.”

I have met few really, really good people and few evil ones. Generally the human race seems to be made up of mostly us Charlie Brown’s, a mixture of good and bad. We are sinful yes, but still all created in God’s image. Sure, we’re going to meet up with grumpy, sour-pusses, believers and unbelievers, but let’s try to be patient with them. After all,  God isn’t through with them yet, or with us.

This Christian life is like a pencil with an eraser on the end. When we ask for and receive God’s forgiveness and pass it on to others, we erase not only our mistakes but theirs. (John 20:23; Matt: 16:19)

Dear Lord Help us to win your approval and give people around us a break by staying positive.