Read Philippians 4:8
8 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. (THE MESSAGE)
Many years ago, in what seems another lifetime, I worked in the airline industry. My final job there was as a load controller responsible for dispatching aircraft safely and punctually. It was a demanding job and a crucial one. Most of the time we got it right. Aircraft left safely and on time.
But there were times when things didn’t quite turn out right and I had to delay an aircraft departure. What was interesting was that I usually got rebuked for such a delay (even if it were not my fault). What was just as interesting, and unfortunate, was that I never got praised for doing my job properly when an aircraft left on time—as it usually did.
In other words, there was no place for encouragement, only criticism. Most of us can and should accept rebuke, but we also need large doses of affirmation. It helps us do our jobs better. Sadly, some of us are so focussed on what is wrong with ourselves or others that we have no time or energy or inclination to focus on what might be good and right.
Our text reminds us that we do best if we fill our minds with the better things. Not so as to ignore what is not right, but in order to rescue our minds and hearts from the darkness of the pit and the ugliness of the gutter. How different our families, our churches, our world might be if we didn’t just criticise people when they do the wrong thing, but if we affirmed them when they do the right thing.
We all might need the occasional dig in the ribs. But don’t forget the regular pats on the back.