Thought for the Month: Let's check our attitude!
With Tony Davies of Waterbrook Church
WHEN my eldest son was going through his teenage years, he had a poster on his bedroom door of a grizzly bear coming up out of some water with the caption: “Check your attitude today!”A very apt message for teenagers going through all their massive changes, but also for all of us in our day to day lives.
As I get older and, to an extent, have seen many things in life, I have to choose not to be the grumpy man who has seen it all before and can’t understand why others don’t do things the way I do them.
So I, too, should check my attitude each day. To choose to see the good in life and in people is a precious gift, to choose to be a glass-half-full person rather than it’s nearly empty affects not only us but the people around us. To choose to see the good around us and speak it out in praise for someone is very powerful.
Praise is so important for our minds and soul. Praise expresses admiration, appreciation, approval and frequently gratitude. We should use praise in our day to day life all the time, we might want to express the beauty of a garden, the glory of a sun set, the tastiness of a meal, the skill of a bus driver, the patience of a mother, how well someone looks.
Praise is often counter to our culture, which can pick things apart, finding fault and grumbling but praise is wholesome and good.
People respond well to being appreciated. Recently, we have rightly been praising the extraordinary achievements of very ordinary men and women who stepped up to the mark for their country and freedom, as we remembered the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. It is fitting to acknowledge their achievements.
Today we, as a country, are grappling with lots of uncertainties in the political arena, covering leadership and international treaties with the EU and with the outcome of the national referendum in 2016.
Many years ago, in the days of Isaiah - a prophet, many years before Christ - there were also questions about international treaties, political instability and crises: indeed, this formed the context of his prophecy. Their world was unpredictable and seemed out of control.
Our everyday news suggests that in many ways, our own world is similar. As part of his prophecy, Isaiah said: “In that day you will say 'I will praise you, LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me'.” (Isaiah 12 v1).
In the midst of uncertainty, God’s love is certain and we can acknowledge that. Praise is the right response to God for us; not because in some way God needs our praise but because it’s the right response to his unfathomable act of love and mercy, when on the cross he took all our wrongdoings and his anger was turned away. He has bought our freedom and comforted us.