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.
In this time of a cascade of tragedies- earthquakes, fires, COVID, the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan (and much more) – the timely message of Paul is comforting. Paul wrote this from prison, suffering quite a bit, but wanting to encourage those to whom he wrote. This is a great model, and we need that lesson today more than ever.
The world is suffering. Certainly, some are suffering much worse than others, but we all share pain during this time. As we always witness during times of trouble and uncertainty, crisis brings out the best and worst in character. Our true character is revealed during times of great stress. At the same time, we are shaped and refined by the pressures we face. The strength of steel can only be formed under conditions of intense heat and pressure. So too our character, which is tested and formed under the heat of circumstances.
We see all around us wonderful stories of people giving time, money and resources to others, even at great personal cost. We see our health professionals and first responders literally giving themselves away, risking personal safety, for the benefit of those they serve.
And yes, we also see people who act irresponsibly and even indifferently to the suffering of others. Others inflame social media with ideas that are not helpful or kind.
For our own mental health, and for the benefit of those around us, let’s follow Paul’s example. Let us choose to focus on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.
Prayer: Lord, you know our tendency to become negative when we are afraid. Your Word says that perfect love casts out fear. Give us a more perfect love for you and for one another, Amen.