This has been a challenging ScarredJoy post to write yet one that has been on my heart and waiting to get out of my head and on to the page. I decided to begin this post with a verse from the Bible. If nothing else it gives some foundation to the words that follow.
“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 chapter four and verse eight, New International Version of the Holy Bible)
If social media venues like Facebook are reflective of real life in modern Canadian society or North America in general, we are in a struggle. It seems foundations that have shaped society are being bombarded on a regular basis. So many posts on Facebook these days, for instance, are highly critical and intolerant of opposing views. Such terms as bigot, racist, homophobic, Islamophobic (whatever that really means in a Canadian context) and other negative terms, have become commonplace. The sad thing is often it is those in leadership using terms like these to show their disagreement with someone else. It is no surprise that followers then jump on the bandwagon.
With all this clamor often times the “lovely” is missing! This means concentrating or highlighting those parts of life that are amiable, those stories of real life heroes we admire etc. It includes whatever may attract people to be more loving to each other. Perhaps laying hold on the things that may inspire people to come alongside each other in love and peace. It is time to lay hold of the lovely. It is time for those tired of the noisy voices of social media and the like, to drown out the hate and infantile disagreements with that, which is lovely, noble and pure.
I find myself hesitating as I write with a sense of melancholy. I’m wondering now if such things as purity, mutual love and even peace, are a thing of the past in our modern day culture. With such a thought I feel compelled to persevere at least in a search for the lovely!
I read somewhere that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. I wonder how much inner energy we use to be angry, cynical, bigoted and evil to each other? How do these unflattering and destructive components of behavior and attitude make us feel inside? Perhaps we don’t realize the damage such things have done to our souls.
I speak to myself as well as my readers when I ask for instance, why is it so easy to criticize people in government leadership positions than to praise them? Bosses also are often criticized for changes they seek to bring to an organization. Perhaps it is that they see things that can be improved more than the rest of us can. Perhaps also, they may be surprised if we ever give them credit for what they are trying to do. It may be that with change comes fear or apprehension and we are really lashing out at something within ourselves rather than the change.
I trust what I am saying doesn’t sound beyond our capabilities or potential. Please understand too that I am aware of the political and societal climate of today. I am personally aware that I am but a man with no influence on the world at large. Dear readers, it is not beyond our capability to lay hold on that, which is lovely.
Have you heard of what is called The Golden Rule? To paraphrase it is to do to others in the way you would have them do to you. My friends, how do you like to be treated by others? How do you treat other people?
I’m not trying to act like some guru type who offers words to people to follow. We are in this world together. I’m saying let us try to resist the temptation to speak evil of those we have no control over. Lay aside our negative attitudes about world leaders or other people we will probably never know. We really don’t have to spout off about things just because we disagree. We also don’t have to treat people as the enemy if they don’t hold to our view on things. There are enough people doing that these days.
Let us at least try to lay hold on that which is lovely and stand out from the crowd. Perhaps we can begin to be a peaceful influence close to home before. Perhaps we may lay hold on the lovely in your neighbourhood or workplace. That is what I will work at.
I end this post with some words I came across recently. Perhaps you can take a break in your routine as you ponder the following.
“I have never seen anyone corrected through anger, but always through love; and then, he will even make sacrifices. Therefore, this is how you should act. Take yourself for example: how are you pacified — with curses or love?
Elder Joseph the Hesychast
Monastic Wisdom: The Letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast
As with all ScarredJoy posts your comments are welcome. Please comment and not just “like” okay? Thank you!
7 thoughts on “Lay Hold on the Lovely!”
This verse in Philippians is such a good reminder, Alan. Although this is a familiar passage, I thank you for putting this in front of us today. To double down on this concept, I am adding Eugene Peterson’s translation of this verse in The Message.
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly, things to praise, not things to curse.”
Hope you are loving these first, fresh days of retirement, Alan.
Hi Sharon! Yes, it is a familiar passage. I get a bit concerned when even Christian people get caught up in the negative atmosphere all too common these days. I find myself sometimes being drawn into this unhelpfull attitude. I have to resist this temptation and allow my heart and mind to enjoy the lovely.
Being retired, so far, still seems odd. I’m used to getting up at 5:15 in the morning for work Now I don’t have to! I’m relaxing for the time being. I plan on doing some writing on Thurs.
I trust you are doing well Sharon. Thank you for the encouragement!
Right on Alan…I think we all have been guilty at times of what you speak of and so much negativity is not good. We need to learn to speak and know when to keep quiet…also our focus needs to be on the good, lovely and pure.
Thank you for your thoughts…
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Hi Dixie! Thank you for taking the time to comment regarding Lay Hold On the Lovely. Yes, I find a lot of negativity and unfair comments on social media like Facebook. For instance, an outstanding example is how prejudiced a number of people are about your President. That form of posting is tremendously negative. I am tired of it.
Thank you for your thoughts Dixie!
You’re welcome, Alan. good luck on the writing. I’m into writing these days too, fitting it around several other things, but “fitting it in.” All is well. Thanks.
How true your words are Alan! ” I have never seen anyone corrected by anger but always through love,” I never thought of it like this but that really made me think even my 1st graders always react better and try harder when they are shown love and respect as do the older kiddos! Thank you for inviting me to follow as I enjoy and gives me something else to think about! Thank you, JoAnn
Thank you for taking the time to comment JoAnn. I appreciate it very much. I’m learning too that with negativity being so common today, we need to lay hold on the lovely. We can all learn from each other if we but listen. Blessings on you my friend!