Wondering what the title of this post is referring to? Here’s two versions (the more traditional one from the NRSV and a contemporary rephrasing from The Message):
NRSV: Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
The Message: 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.
That particular scripture has been pushing itself to the forefront of my mind as I’ve been reading Facebook recently. It seems like there are so many of us who are willing to believe the worst about anything/anyone we don’t agree with. I see posts accusing our president of undermining the Constitution…conspiracy theories…name calling… At times it really makes me sad!
That doesn’t mean that I think we all have to put on masks of agreement and say “Everything’s okay” even when we believe otherwise. I believe that disagreement has a legitimate place in our dialogue with each other. But there’s an important word in that last sentence–dialogue.
Dialogue means talking with each other, not past each other. It means being willing to listen…willing to acknowledge that we may not know everything we think we know. It means holding the possibility of changing one’s mind.
I know that not everyone who posts or reads is a Christian–and I’m okay with that. But I think that every major religion has something in their philosophy similar to this statement in Christianity. Maybe a simpler form of saying the same thing is simply the Golden Rule…a version of which is found in all the major religions.
Can you imagine what a better world this would be if we were all willing to live what we say we believe?