Our lives are governed by our attitudes

Our lives are governed by our attitudes.
U2 singer Bono once wrote that explaining belief would always be difficult. How could you explain love and logic at the heart of the universe when the world was so out of whack? How could you explain the concept of vision over visibility? Of instinct over intellect?
Bono said he found the answer to that in the writings of another musician, the giant-slayer David. In the biblical psalms, some of which are believed to have been written by David, Bono found an element of the blues.
“It’s man shouting at God `My God, why have you forsaken me? Why do you seem so far from helping me?’
“Abandonment and displacement is the stuff of my favourite psalms,” said Bono.
“It’s in the despair that the writers of the psalms really reveal their nature of their special relationships with God.”
It’s all there in the most famous of the psalms, the 23rd; the one beginning with “The Lord is my shepherd” and telling of green pastures, still waters and that valley of the shadow of death.
It is only 15 lines long, 57 words in Hebrew, yet it has a power to comfort even the non-religious in grief and fear.
Rabbi Harold Kushner, the prolific American writer, examines the psalm in his book The Lord Is My Shepherd and concludes that it tackles serious questions about the world we live in and the people around us.
It destroys the illusion that this planet is a safe place at the same time as maintaining we can live here courageously without fear.
“Why do we love this psalm so much, more than any of the other 149 psalms? Why do we reach out for it at moments of personal distress?” asked Kushner.
“It is a beautiful literary creation, but the anthologies are full of beautiful writings, and they don’t capture our hearts in the same way.”
Kushner believes the psalm offers a realistic way of seeing the world that renders it less frightening. It has the power to teach us to think differently and, as a result, to act differently.
It’s not really the fear of death that scares us. It is the anticipation, the sense that our time is limited.
We are afraid of coming to the end of our lives without having the impact on the world we once dreamed of.
The psalm does not deny the reality of death, or minimise how painful loss can be. It confirms the awful truth — that much of the time, we cannot control what happens to us.
The psalm never asks us to pretend, as some religious teachings do, that death does not change things, that moving from life to death is no different than moving from Hobart to Melbourne.
But it introduces us to a God who is with us in the pain, and who leads us from the dark valley back to light.
The psalm is a reminder that although our physical beings will die, everything about us that is not physical — our memories, values, sense of humour and identity — cannot die.
The psalm reminds us that God’s promise was never that life would be fair. The psalmist does not say God will save us from death; merely that God will be with us when we walk through the shadow of the valley of death. The message is that we will not be abandoned.
Our world may not be perfect, but it is God’s world and that makes all the difference.


6 thoughts on “Our lives are governed by our attitudes

  1. What is it we Christians say about God’s timing? It’s supposed to be perfect, right?

    Yesterday I read this article in a ‘Challenge’ newspaper I had lying around for a few months. It really made me think, all day in fact, and I so wanted to share it on the blog, but as usual I got stuck on the dogma, some of which I disagree with, and in any case there was no opening on the blog to mention it……until today. It looks at death from the point of view of ‘preparedness’, and is truth according to the Bible and my Christian faith. I know it’s not a popular message these days. I know it offends our sensibilities. But nevertheless, I still feel God wants us to preach it…….




    • there’s possibly a couple of million preppers in the USA now – doing soul survival things.
      you can’t change a gray hair to dark.
      you can’t add one day to your life,
      you are clay, He is potter
      it depends not on him who wills nor runs, but on Him who has mercy
      gold and silver, horses and armies are no security
      and all of man’s righteousness are as filthy rags.

      there are so very many voices in some form of media now. millions maybe.

      and Solomon said, ‘fear God and do whatever He tells you’, its all begins with a conversation…..
      [from Adam to today, 6002? years, it has always been this]
      ready to jump? ask God.
      I wake up with so very many things to worry about and do and it occurred to me once that through it all, nothing will ever matter as much to me as hearing from God personally, daily bread. cheers sister.


      • Thanks Phillip G.

        I needed to hear your words.

        Yes. And to think that, even as a devoted, committed Catholic, I still did not know that hearing from God personally was even possible, until a trusted friend told me so. And from that day on, that was all I ever wanted to do— she had sown the seed in fertile ground and I am forever grateful for her love and faithfulness……I’ve been shutting my Jesus out of late.

        God Bless


  2. Our lives are governed by our attitudes, and our attitudes come from our beliefs?

    I don’t think so. New knowledge can change our beliefs, but our attitudes are ingrained. For instance you can be raised in a household belonging to one side of politics, and change to the opposite as you grow older and become aware of other factors. But whether your attitude will be moderate or radical, hard-line or tolerant, will probably be alike in both circumstances.

    The same applies to religious conversions, I think.

    I could be very wrong, of course. :-))


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