"Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8.
I think it’s safe to say, that we all get pretty anxious at times. The more we read or watch the news or peruse the endless rabbit holes of social media, the more we may be filled with ideas and commentary that may lure us into polarizing behaviors or seeing the worst in every situation.
This may be why conspiracy theories take root and grow among people. When we are anxious about the times (and there is good reason to be), we want to know who to blame.
We want answers.
Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi is written in the midst of trying and violent times. Those who professed faith in Christ experienced pressure to back off. Paul, himself, writes this letter from prison. I sometimes wonder if Paul writes this encouraging letter to the Philippians to encourage himself, writing things he, himself, needs to hear to hang in there.
Paul offers sage advice for enduring such as praying to and rejoicing in God in all things. He also encourages the Philippians to think on the things that are worthy to be thought upon--all that is good and right that is happening.
It’s tempting to obsess upon all that is wrong. I find myself doing that at times. When I do, I participate in believing a narrative contrary to the one that God invites me to live into. Then, I lose sleep. I get edgy. I am more easily set off.
Now, don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to evil and injustice happening around us. Instead, it’s focusing our energy and time toward what God has done and continues to do through Christ for the sake of the world. It is opening our hearts to God’s will so that we may faithfully respond to God’s infinite love and grace revealed to us through Christ Jesus.
Besides, the time God has given us is far too precious to spend on negative narratives and hatred.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Wendy Kalan