I am sure you have taken notice of a quiet and disturbing trend. America and Americans have become more negative.
People no longer debate but degrade.
We throw verbal rocket-propelled grenades at our opponents, thinking we score points with every hit.
Our political leaders on both sides want to outdo each other for their arrogance and pure acidic exchanges.
And we don’t even have to bring up cable news and social media.
You may say, “that’s them, not me.” We tend to cleanse ourselves of all the evils of others while we polish our own haloes.
So, let me give you a list of words. Here they are:
Angry, annoyed, appalled, apprehensive, delighted, disappointed, ecstatic, excited, Ashamed, Emotional, Bewildered, Envious, Confused, Furious, Confident, Frightened, Cheated, Great, Cross, Happy, Depressed, Horrified.
Do those words have anything in common? No definite pattern, but they are the 24 most used emotional words in the human language. How many do you use? What are they?
One study looked at 558 English words that describe our emotional state. Two-thirds of all our emotional expression is negative.
So go back and look in the mirror. Or better yet, listen to yourself when you talk.
What do we do about this? We don’t change society. We control ourselves, and culture changes one person at a time. We then change those who come into our orbit.
Paul wrote the Philippian church, one that had much going for it but had one common problem: interpersonal problems.
He wrote about their circumstances and gave them an answer that we can apply anywhere and in every case.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8, ESV)
Or, as The Message puts it:
“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.” (Philippians 4:8, The Message)
Take some time to change our world one thought at a time. After all, it couldn’t hurt.
What’s your word list sound like?\