You ever have one of those days (or years) when nothing seems to be going your way and everybody around you seems like an absolute idiot?
The older I get the easier it is to be a negative and disparaging skeptic. Sometimes I’m like the old fart who shuffles along in the grocery store complaining out loud to himself about people, prices, and politicians.
“People suck. The government sucks. My life sucks. The world sucks! I should just crawl into a hole and die!”
I don’t want to be the grump I sometimes am, but it seems that snarkiness is an epidemic in our culture.
In fact, it’s fashionable to criticize just about everything and everyone. Some of the most popular radio and TV talk show hosts are famous for their ability to rip in to the left or the right with their snarky commentary.
We have become a nation of people quick to throw stones at others for their failures while conveniently ignoring our own.
I understand. Life is hard. Things go left when we want them to go right. People let us down. Dreams get shattered. Plans sometimes fail. Friends betray us. What’s more, even our own bodies let us down.
If we’re not careful, it’s easy to become pessimistic and grumpy. It’s easy to see the worst in people rather than believe the best. It’s too easy to give up and just wallow in our misery.
But maybe there’s a better way?
- Perhaps we should decide to guard our hearts and ask God to help us stay tender despite the emotional beating we sometimes experience at the hand of others.
- Perhaps we should do whatever it takes to find the best in our circumstances and in people.
- Perhaps we should remember that we too are far from perfect and still in the process of becoming the man or woman God wants us to be.
- Perhaps we should get off our high horse of spiritual or intellectual superiority and become humble like a child.
I love that most children are full of hope and joy. In fact, I’ve never met a five-year-old cynic. Of course, the argument can be made that given time and life everyone becomes at least a little cynical. Eventually, every child becomes an adult and loses their “innocence” along with their unrealistic and positive outlook.
But does it really have to be that way? Are we all destined to become grumpy old men or women? Or can we choose our attitude despite the difficulty of our path?
By the grace and help of God, I know we can change. I know we can do better.
I want to grow in grace with age. I choose to see past the pain that could lead to cynicism and focus on the eternal. Rather than become a snarky old saint, I want to fix my eyes on and become more like Jesus who, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).
Someone once said, “We become what we behold.”
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)