Good Words

Jun 18, 2003 08:08 AM EDT

Philippians 4:4-9 (NRSV)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just . . . think about these things.

-- Philippians 4:8 (NRSV)

ONE of my co-workers had a problem with negativity. He had the potential to be a good salesperson, but his sarcasm and negative attitude repelled people. One day, several of us decided we would try to help him. One morning at ten o'clock we told him that if he could last the two hours until noon without saying anything negative, we would buy his lunch for him. Starving high-school student that he was, he readily agreed to our challenge.

The morning passed slowly, and several times he started to say something negative but caught himself. We were sure the incentive of a free lunch would motivate him, but by 10:45 he was noticeably irritable. At about 11 a.m., he gave up. "I just can't stand it," he exclaimed. "It's not worth it. I have to say something negative!" Sadly, this way of expressing himself had become a deeply ingrained habit.

Paul admonishes us to concentrate on what is true, noble, pure, lovely, and admirable. We can't keep out negative thoughts, but by following Paul's advice we can keep them from becoming our focus.

Prayer: O God, give us a heart and mind to see the good and the will to speak it to the world. Amen.


How can my words and actions draw others to what is true, noble, right, and good?


Crabby co-workers

By Dick Lewis, California