Choose to get bet­ter, not bit­ter

Te Awamutu Courier - - News - Si­mon Alexan­der - Te Awa­mutu Bap­tist Church

Apop­u­lar song sung around New Years is a Scot­tish poem writ­ten by Robert Burns in 1788, ti­tled Auld Lang Syne. The song starts by ask­ing a rhetor­i­cal ques­tion, which in our lan­guage would read, ‘ Is it right that old times be for­got­ten?’. The song is really about re­mem­ber­ing the good from the years gone by, and then tak­ing up a ‘cup of kind­ness’, for those good ol’ times. In to­day’s hus­tle and bus­tle it’s so easy to be over fo­cused on ex­actly the op­po­site.

It’s of­ten the things that have gone wrong, where of­fence has been taken, and some­times given, that flood our thoughts, and shape the cen­ter of our at­ten­tion.

But this isn’t right. Don’t be fooled! We will all en­counter of­fences, but it’s up to us as to how it will af­fect us, and our re­la­tion­ships with those around us.

Our re­sponses will al­ways have a bear­ing on our fu­tures. As we come to a new year, let’s de­ter­mine our­selves to be peo­ple who han­dle cor­rectly the things that want to drag us down. Let’s be peo­ple who look back and find the good in life, and de­ter­mine our­selves that it’s that, that will shapes our vi­sion for the fu­ture.

Josh Shipp, an Amer­i­can youth mo­ti­va­tional speaker writes, “…we ei­ther get bit­ter, or we get bet­ter. You ei­ther take what has been dealt to you, and al­low it to make you a bet­ter per­son, or al­low it to tear you down. The choice does not be­long to fate, it be­longs to you.” I like that!

The choice does not be­long to fate, it be­longs to you! Be­ing of­fended by things done to you, or done against you, is all too com­mon.

Can we es­cape of­fence? No! Even Je­sus Christ openly ad­mit­ted that it is im­pos­si­ble to live this life and not be of­fended at some point (The Gospel of Luke 17:1).

But we can deal with it dif­fer­ently from what is the norm. One of Je­sus Christ’s dis­ci­ples learnt this les­son very quickly him­self, and later wrote, “and above all things have fer­vent love for one an­other, for love will cover a mul­ti­tude of sins” (1st Peter 4:8). In this life, hard places and dif­fi­cult chal­lenges will al­ways be a part of our jour­neys.

We can’t es­cape them. But we need to be a peo­ple who face them, and face them ‘with love’.

You could say that they are part of the process of be­ing ma­tured, and as we all know, giv­ing out a demon­stra­tion of love in a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment is no easy feat, but it is the pin­na­cle of ma­tu­rity.

So let’s re­mem­ber this as we take on 2019. Let’s re­mem­ber that the choice about how we re­spond to of­fence does not be­long to fate, but be­longs to us! Let’s de­ter­mine our­selves this year to … take up a cup of kind­ness yet, for auld lang syne.

God Bless, keep smil­ing, bet­ter things are yet to come.

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