Have you ever been somewhere listening to a speaker and heard a person near you grumbling about being there? Everything the person up front speaking says, there is a negative comment at your back. Pretty soon, all you are hearing is the negativity from the person behind you instead of what you really need to be focusing on from the person in front of you.
It is so easy to focus on what is negative. We are being bombarded day-in and day-out with negativity. I turn on my computer to work; there it is plastered all over the internet. I turn on the TV to enjoy a show with my family. There it is again: negativity, hatred, meanness, lies, gossip, and slander. I hear it standing in line at the grocery store. People are just downright angry all the time. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty tired of it.
I’m reading Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independent by B. J. Lossing which was written in 1848. I just read about Dr. Matthew Thornton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Lossing said that Dr. Thornton was a “consistent and zealous Christian” and someone who practiced cheerfulness. Lossing suggested that this practice of cheerfulness was what caused Dr. Thornton to live well into his 89th year.
You know what? I’m going to practice cheerfulness. If someone were to write a book about me, I think I would want to be known as someone who was a consistent and zealous Christian. I would want it to be said that I was cheerful, and it made a difference. Philippians 4:8 (ESV) states, “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.” I’m going to practice thinking about these kinds of things so that I can be more cheerful.
I know it’s going to be hard, but maybe if we all did it together and reminded each other when the going gets tough that we have to be proactive about it, maybe it might just make a difference. It’s going to take a little practice.
What about you? Will you join me?