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Choose to focus on the good things

We are officially in the holiday season now, and it’s still 2020. Who knows what is around the corner, or what challenges we may face individually or collectively?

The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8 to put our focus on certain things; to look for things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report. If, the scriptures tell us, there is any virtue or praise, we should think upon these things.

I have seen a great deal of gloom and doom, of bitterness and divisiveness in social media over the last several days. Our country has experienced highs and lows throughout its history; we’ve had times of peace and plenty, and times of war and hardship. It has managed to endure for more than 240 years, even after a schism in the mid-19th century that literally had Americans at war with each other.

We have had, do have, our differences, some of them very pronounced; it is the time to find common ground and consensus for the good of all of us, so that we can all move forward.

If we can only stop and see one another as fellow Americans and citizens of the world, rather than enemies; see what is “true, honest and of good report” in our communities, our counties, our states and our nation, it can and will make a difference.

At the core of it, for me, is love. We can be blessed with brilliant minds, amazing talents, great oratory skills, all the wealth imaginable, millions of social media followers; we can donate everything we possess to charitable institutions, be people of faith—in the end, if we do not possess compassion, selflessness, empathy, the ability to put ourselves into someone else’s shoes, then ultimately, we are a failure, no matter the trappings of material wealth and earthly markers of success.

A servant’s heart, the kind of heart Jesus spoke of, is one filled with the qualities of love—it is patient and kind. It doesn’t need to bluster and boast about its accomplishments; it definitely does not bully others. Such a heart is respectful, not spiteful or vengeful; it is one that seeks to uncover and share the truth rather than scurrilous rumors and poisonous lies.

A loving heart keeps hope alive; it perseveres.

I have re-read 1 Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter, several times over the last few days. My prayers are for this nation to seek to love more, to love better and to be better neighbors to one another. It starts in the heart of each individual.

We each have to decide where we stand, and on what things we will focus. May we all make the right choices in the coming weeks and in 2021. Love, you see, always leads us down the right path.