This morning, having finished my routine of walk, devotion, coffee with Rebekah and newspaper reading, I determined to sound off – like so many other bloggers – about the situation in Syria and the possibility that the United States will get involved and support one hate-filled, atrocity-performing, side over the other.
Then, thankfully, my daily meditation from The Upper Room garnered my attention and helped redirect.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
If you’ve read this space much over the years you may remember this verse is my official writing mantra. The idea first surfaced in a column I wrote for the Tampa Tribune in response to a “letter to the editor;” I think it was something like, “Why do you keep publishing that drivel by Derek Maul?”
GOOD IS STRONGER; LIGHT BEATS DARKNESS: The passage – of course – has more practical implications than merely “focus on the positive.” Like, for example, the efficacy of doing good in the face of evil.
Fact is, the philosophy of bombing, smashing, beating up, or bullying those we disagree with into submission has a dismal track record over time. Whereas interventions based on non-violence and the presentation of light are more likely to effect permanent change.
The reason I write words of encouragement, and why I tend to focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable, is evidenced in the morning newspaper and the evening news. We already have a big enough pile of negativity, why add to it with more vitriol, anger, cynicism, argument, destruction and violence?
Words of promise lead to thoughts of hope; thoughts of hope lead to mindsets of encouragement; mindsets of encouragement lead to conversations of purpose; conversations of purpose lead to actions of healing; actions of healing lead to communities defined by love; communities defined by love bring promise to the world….
And what this world needs today is promise, and hope, and actions that translate the spiritual truth of Philippians 4:8 into a future that doesn’t automatically resort to violence “when all else fails.” Because it’s violence that fails – always, and the important truth is that “all else” hasn’t nearly begun to be explored.
Peace – in every way – DEREK