How to live a positive life in a negative world

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Years ago, I read the book Raising PG Kids in an X Rated Society by Tipper Gore, former wife of former vice president, Al Gore. In the book Tipper points an accusing finger at some of the contemporary bands of the 1990s like Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Death by Stereo, and Led Zeppelin and suggests that they were largely responsible for the societal evils of the day.

It is doubtful that contemporary music has managed to become more redemptive and morally acceptable in the current decade. In fact, one study asserts that the “lyric intelligence” of Billboard chart-toppings has significantly dropped in the last decade and the texture, quality, and color of the sounds within the music or the “richness and depth of sound” has also dropped dramatically.

However, the intention of this editorial is not to discuss the current trends in modern music, but to explain in some strange way how the title of Tipper Gore’s book inspired the title for this editorial.

Our X rated world is also a negative world, not just because some music is deleterious or even fatalistic, but because so many things around us are depressing. One can hardly look at the news without becoming despondent.

Within the last few days we have had Hurricane Michael cause two deaths and create a trail of destruction in Florida and across the Southeast. We have seen the U. S. Senate demonstrate an unhealthy and hostile partisanship over the vote on a SCOTUS justice.

We are observing mid-term political races that look more like a fight in the Circus Maximus than an election in a free democracy. We witnessed the crash of a limousine that took the lives of 20 people – the deadliest transportation accident in almost a decade. We read that at least 15 members of the Afghan security forces were killed in a Taliban assault in the northern province of Kunduz.

We live in the wealthiest country on earth, but we still have people in our communities who are hungry and homeless. We have crime in our streets, murder in our cities, vandalism in our churches, terrorism in our schools, filth on our televisions, humanism taught in our schools, hedonism influencing our entertainment industry, and materialism dominating much of our thinking.

The fact that Atlanta leads the nation in sex trafficking and has been named the 17th most dangerous out of the 50 largest cities in the country is a statistic that should shame us and bring us to repentance.

The point is that there is much to cause us to develop a negative attitude, but that is no way to live. Someone once told me, “Always expect the worst and you will never be disappointed.” But that is not the way I want to live my life.

I don’t want this editorial to sound like a chapter out of one of Joel Osteen’s best sellers, but I do believe if an individual is saved by the power of the cross and has been given an eternal perspective by the Holy Spirit of God, he can walk by faith and live a more constructive life.

I am constantly reminding myself that I have a Father who loves me, a Savior who took my sins and gave me His righteousness, a faith that is steadfast and sure, a peace that passes all understanding, a hope that forever beckons me onward, and a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

I also believe what Paul said when he declared, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).

Furthermore, the Bible says, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, and if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4: 8).

Evangelist Len Turner recently told me that he was reading Tim Tebow’s book, This is the Day. In the book Tebow writes about a remarkable basketball game that took place between the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 1990. The bulls won the game 117-113 in overtime, and Michael Jordan scored a career high 69 points. He made 23 of 27 field goal attempts and 21 of 23 foul shots. He had 18 rebounds, six assists and four steals – it was a remarkable game.

When the game was over Jordan was surrounded by television cameras and reporters and adoring fans. One reporter gave up on trying to talk to Jordan and found Stacy King, a rookie player who managed to get into the game and got fouled and make one out of two foul shots, scoring one point. The reporter asked him, “Stacy, tell me how you felt about being on the winning team in this remarkable game.”

Stacy said, “It was an incredible game, and I am proud to say that Michael Jordan and I were able to pull out a win with our combined 70 points.”

Stacy’s statement only reminds me that when I link myself to an omnipotent God I am only limited by my doubts and fears.

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