Why do we focus on the bad?
The news talks about accidents, crimes, deaths, restrictions, fear, etc.
Gossip is spread, slandering even–maybe especially–good people; and the juicier, the better.
People complain and worry and argue.
If you ask me how my week was and I say “good” and you ask “what made it good?” (certain people at my church are good at this), I’ll probably struggle a bit to answer. But if I say “not-so-good” and you ask why, I can list off several reasons. (Not-so-proud of this, but it’s the truth.)
Why is this?
Why do we focus on the bad, the ugly, the worrisome, the fear-striking, the slanderous, the shocking, the grievesome, etc.?
Our world is full of bad news, I know. There’s a lot of turmoil and disease and sorrow and sin and fear and war and anger and death and all that.
But there’s also good news. There’s a lot of rest and health and happiness and godly living and peace and love and life and blessings and families that stay together and dating couples that get married instead of breaking up and adorable babies being born and friends sticking by each other’s side and butterflies and good food and birds singing and sunshine and music that makes you feel better. . .
You get my point?
As a familiar quote says: “There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy.” So many lovely things. So many unnecessary blessings. It’s a glorious world, and we’re missing out by just noticing the bad!
I mentioned gossip at the beginning. My school Bible teacher planted this idea in my brain: What if we spread good gossip?
Oh, but Christians don’t gossip, you say. Right, we give prayer requests: “Pray for so-and-so and so-and-so, as they’re having marital problems.” (It’s the same, y’all.)
So what if we’d “spill the tea” about good things?
“Hey, did you hear? So-and-so’s been having their devotions regularly for the past month.”
“Guess what? *wait for the “what?”* So-and-so gave their heart to Jesus!”
“You know what? So-and-so witnessed to somebody. I’m so proud of them!”
Good gossip: validating, not slandering; building up, not putting down; loving, not criticizing.
What if we would do that?
What if the news focused on the good news? Maybe even the Good News?
What if people would count their blessings and trust God and “disagree without being disagreeable*”?
Can you imagine how changed our lives–our world–ourselves–would be? Don’t ya think people would be happier, more at peace, kinder?
I understand just focusing on the good isn’t going to make anyone’s life picture-perfect. I understand that it won’t change the fact that we live in a broken, sinful world where sorrow and pain is to be expected. I understand sometimes we need to look at the bad to address the problem, grow closer to God, etc.
But we can choose to focus on the God who is good and in control and blesses us beyond our wildest dreams. To have a cheerful outlook on things. To find things to praise God for, instead of just praying for all these requests.
Life isn’t always good, but it’s not always bad either. And often-times–maybe all-the-time–there’s good to be found in the bad.
I’m not trying to preach at anybody. Well, besides myself maybe. I struggle to focus on the good; I tend to complain and remember the bad parts. But I don’t want to be that way. I want to change. I want to be optimistic, and encourage others to be that way. I want to be light in the darkness–both as a Christian and as, um, an optimist, I guess.
And I’ve got so much to thank Him for“So Much to Thank Him For” song
So much to praise Him for
Well you see, He has been so good to me
And when I think of what He’s done
And where He brought me from
I’ve got so much to thank Him for
*James Keller, “A Soft Answer. . . “, Three Minutes a Day