Hatred’s Fertile Soil

Hands Holding a Seedling and SoilEach year at this time, my interests are directed towards my garden. I visit it often to watch the yellow flowers become tomatoes. I also add a little fertilizer to stimulate the growth of the plants, and put a fence up around the garden to keep the cats out; I don’t like their soul-enriching methodology.

The vegetation in a garden is much like the thoughts in your head.  Some can bloom and produce a beautiful crop of beneficial thoughts and productive ideas; others are weeds that are detrimental to your mental well-being and they can make a blooming idiot of you.

To live a well-ordered life, a life that’s more fruit than folly, you must manage your thoughts when they first appear in the garden of your mind.  Winifred Gallagher says, “It’s about treating your mind as you would a private garden and being as careful as possible about what you introduce and allow to grow there.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson recognized the power and potential of a person’s thoughts when he said, “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

The more you think about something, the more it becomes a part of who you are. Whether it is positive or negative it will take root in the subconscious control center of your mind.  An incident that occurred yesterday is evidence of this. The actions of James T. Hodgkinson at the GOP’s congressional baseball practice, is evidence of a mind overgrown with the weeds of hatred.

The mind should be a weed-free zone; and, the only way to accomplish this is to take your thoughts captive.   If you fail to manage your thoughts and to take them captive, they will captivate and control you.

Yesterday, we witnessed both good and evil; Hodgkinson, was the personification of evil, and the good was seen in the heroic actions of those who stood in harm’s way to eliminate the threat and those who rushed to treat the wounded.

I can think of no better words to summarize my thoughts than these: Jesus said, The good person out of the good treasury of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasury produces evil (Luke 6:45).

 

Your Mind: Is It a Weed-Free Zone?

weed_controlEach year at this time there’s a little shift in my daily routine.  My interests are directed to my garden which is an area of the yard that’s usually neglected.  I closely watch it to see when the yellow flowers become tomatoes and the beans and the zucchini begin to sprout.  I also add a little fertilizer to stimulate the growth of the plants; however, I put a fence up around the garden to keep the cats out; I don’t like their soul-enriching methodology.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize it’s better to dispose of a weed when it first appears.  This prevents it from developing strong roots or dropping its pollen and contaminating the rest of the garden.

The vegetation in a garden is much like the thoughts in your head.  Some can bloom and produce a beautiful crop of beneficial thoughts and productive ideas; others are weeds that are detrimental to your mental well-being and they can make a blooming idiot of you.

To live a well-ordered life, a life that’s more fruit than folly, you must manage your thoughts when they first appear.  Winifred Gallagher has said:

“Living the focused life is not about trying to feel happy all the time… rather, it’s about treating your mind as you would a private garden and being as careful as possible about what you introduce and allow to grow there.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson recognized the power and potential of a person’s thoughts when he said, “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

When you read Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, he said your mind should be a weed-free zone; and, the only way to accomplish this is to take your thoughts captive.   If you fail to manage your thoughts and to take them captive, they will captivate and control you.

“The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity (2 Corinthians 10). ~The Message

If you would like a better understanding of what it takes to discipline your mind and to become more aware of your thoughts, Dr. Caroline Leaf has some practical suggestions.

 

My Pinky Finger or My Whole Hand?

flowerWhen you think of the stories of the Bible, which one pops into your mind?  Is it Noah and the ark, or Jonah and the big fish?  One of the more familiar stories is the account of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10).

To help you remember this story, let me remind you of the main characters.  It involved a thief who beat a man and the reactions of a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan.  Each of these people pondered a question.  The question asked by the priest and the Levite was: “What will happen to me, if I stop and help this man?”  The Samaritan asked the question from a different perspective: “What will happen to this man, if I don’t stop and help him?”

Both the priest and the Levite barely noticed the injured man, but the Samaritan was eager to help bear his burdens.  Of the three, it seems that the Samaritan was better acquainted with the words of Solomon:

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts.  For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.  Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm?  And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).”

I’ve wondered how much this story influenced the thinking of William Penn, who said: “I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”

Some of the simplest acts of kindness, like lending a helping hand, are the most noble.  The following quotes focus on this kind of ministry:

  • Martin Luther King Jr: “Life’s most urgent questions is: What are you doing for others?”
  • Booker T. Washington: “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

God calls us to try to see each other through, not to try to see through each other.  We do this best when we labor together; lift each other up; and, support one another.