Something is really playing on my spirit at the moment. It’s something that I’m hearing from people close to me and I find myself cringing every time I hear it. It’s the concept that how good your day, your life, your relationships are is dependent upon how you verbalise it and how your own state of mind is towards it.
In the secular world I come across it as ‘positive thinking’ or ‘self-help’. Often you’ll find that it gets intertwined with ‘New Age’ concepts.
In the church I look upon it as an aspect of the ‘Confession and Prosperity Doctrine’ or ‘Name It and Claim It’. Only an aspect though, something small yet something subversive.
I’ll raise my flag here right at the beginning. Believer or not, shit happens. I don’t believe that being a child of God gives us a Get Out of Jail card that we can throw at life’s slings and arrows. An episode of Postman Pat summed it up beautifully for me. Pat was delivering to the church and went inside the church to get out of the rain. As he was speaking to the Vicar a drop of water fell through from a hole in the roof onto Pat’s nose. The Vicar exclaimed ‘Ah Pat, it rains on the just and the unjust’. Of course this is based upon Matthew 5:44-45
44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. (NLT)
Sadly I’m seeing it more and more in the Christian circles that I move.
If feel that it’s a dangerous thing to do. It puts the onus of ‘having a good day’ upon you. It doesn’t matter what’s happening just verbalise some self-help tosh and it’ll all be better. If you’d talked with me on the day my mum died and told me that all I have to do to make it a ‘good day’ is to say it then you’d likely have walked away with less teeth.
For people who suffer with mental illness this sort of doctrine is doubly dangerous: Even if you do confess it to be a good day and still feel crap then the blame lies solely at your feet. When it seems like the world is miles away from you mentally and emotionally do you really want someone telling you in an underhand way that it’s all your fault?
Claiming the promises of God when taken together with advancing the Kingdom of God in our own lives is something to aim for. I believe that such will enable us through the Holy Spirit to much better deal and cope and endure. But to live in a delusion? No thanks. Live honestly with God, act as true children.
I’ll finish with the wise words of The Teacher and a video from the great Pete Seeger.
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.