The holidays brought a quick moving stomach bug to my family. Starting the day after Christmas, one family member after another got sick. For the most part, everyone was back in their own home when the malaise arrived. After my four-year-old grandson got sick the bug moved rapidly. By the end of the day after Christmas ten of us were keeping buckets handy. Then speculation began as to what was the cause. Early thoughts focused on food, but as people compared what they ate it was obvious the grandchildren were eating differently than the adults. By the time the baby got sick, the idea that food was the issue was gone. Still, people were trying to determine, just who brought the bug on Christmas. We were at the point of paranoia figuring out who breathed the bug into our space.
We look for someone to blame when our life isn’t going well. Illness, loss, economic downturns or relationships gone sour, can all foster an attempt to ascertain blame. Instead of getting to the heart of our issues, we focus on the minor as if it were the major. If we figure out who or what to blame we can start demanding reparation. The downside is that spending our energy fixing blame, for all the minor disruptions in our world, causes us to live small, depleted lives.
Focusing on the negative leads to bitter spirits. I think that is why the apostle Paul told us to focus our minds on the positive. He encouraged the people of Philippi to “Be known to everyone for your consideration of others. The Lord is near; do not be anxious, but in everything make your requests known to God in prayer and petition with thanksgiving. Then the peace of God, which is beyond all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. And now, my friends, all that is true, all that is noble, all that is just and pure, all that is lovable and attractive, whatever is excellent and admirable–fill your thoughts with these things. Put into practice the lessons I taught you, the tradition I have passed on, all that you heard me say or saw me do; and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:5-9 Revised English Bible.