This wicked world
Searchin' for light in the darkness of insanity.
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?
And each time I feel like this inside,
There's one thing I wanna know:
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?
And as I walked on
Through troubled times
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes
So where are the strong
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
(Nick Lowe, 1974)
I shared last week I was battling a bad attitude. I was doing alright and then this last weekend I was on my phone more than usual. Even the tone of the comments on the sports websites I checked seemed nasty. And the “news”? Ugh! Worse than ever. A dark cloud seemed to be forming in my mind again. Doesn’t anyone have positive things to share?
The song “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding?” came to mind. I was an Elvis Costello fan and his rendition of this old Nick Lowe song started playing going through my mind. The world seems so infatuated with “pain, hatred, and misery.” I know many of my college students feel like the world they’ve been brought up in is filled with “the darkness of insanity.” Is all hope lost?
Paul, imprisoned and not sure whether he would live or die, exhorted his readers:
Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 CEV.
Words like “true, pure, holy, friendly, worthwhile, and worthy of praise” wouldn’t describe what I was focusing on as I scrolled on my phone. Words like “agitated, angry, and troubled” would be more accurate. What I was reading certainly wasn’t very friendly!
There is so much around us that is hardly true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Paul says, “Welcome to my world!” And yet Paul wrote the most joyful book in the Bible, a book that has helped me and thousands, if not millions, of people with anxiety, fear, and discouragement.
How could someone who was literally beaten up by the world and perhaps imminently facing death do it? Paul would ask us, where is your focus?
Paul exhorts us to keep our minds on what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise. The day I shared the song with my class, I committed to looking for “light” instead of dark, for “good news” instead of bad. It was incredible how much good I found in my life. From an email from a niece that brought a smile to multiple unexpected texts from friends I love, the day went unexpectedly well. Was it just a “lucky” day? Yes. But I’m also convinced the commitment to look for what was true, pure, and friendly made a difference.
Believe it or not, a potentially ugly conflict that day was resolved by some “peace, love, and understanding” on both sides! (I’m not making that up!! It can happen!!)
Are any of you feeling beaten down by this world? Paul would understand. But he exhorts us to keep our focus on the things of God more than the things of this world.
-Might you have your mind on the troubles of this world more than necessary? Might there be ways to lessen the bad news and focus more on the “good news”?
-Might a bit more time focusing on things that are “true, pure, right, holy, friendly, proper, and praiseworthy serve you better?
-If you are a disciple of Jesus, might I challenge you to share a little “peace, love, and understanding” with someone a little beaten down by the world today?
We are more likely to see what we surrounded ourselves with. I’m thanking God today for the positive people He’s surrounded me with. That includes you.