We live in a day of numbers, indicators, and stats. Yesterday, I talked about the danger of our pre-suppositions and the need to challenge them. I even used the example of 'waiting to see the film' before making conclusions.
But I am going to go against this thought in one big area today. There is something that is EASY to see. It is easy to read subjectively, and there is little objective data needed to support this.
We know people by their ATTITUDES. Sure, day to day can be a little shaky- everyone can have a grumbling, horrible, no good day or season-but, for a trend over time- show me a man with a great attitude and I will show you a winner.
Proverbs 15 has a great picture of what a great attitude looks like. In fact, if we lived according to this one chapter in the Bible- we would be seen as affable, approachable, kind, and successful.
Attitude Attribute #1- UNFLAPPABLE- "A soft answer turns away wrath"- Coach David Cutcliffe was the first man who ever taught me to 'not get too high with the highs or too low with the lows'. This doesn't mean we never get excited or angry- we are not cold machines- but I take it to mean that we are not push button nuclear reactors. A person who is unflappable gets calmer in a crisis and that steadiness spreads. The unflappable person is secure enough to take a venting and keep on ticking. The unflappable person also knows when to NOT push a button "a harsh word stirs up anger". This willingness to stay even keel is part of a winning attitude.
Attitude Attribute #2- POSITIVE SPEECH- "A gentle tongue is a tree of life (vs 4)"- "Lips of wise spread knowledge (vs 7)"- "gracious words are pure (vs 26)"-"the righteous heart PONDERS how to answer (vs 28)". Does this mean we only say the good? Isn't that too 'polly anna'? Always balanced with truth and wise discernment- but a person with great attitude adds to the health of a situation and person by speaking well as often as he can. My grandmother used to say "Look for the bad and you will find it" I say look for the good.
A dear friend of mine grew up with an alcoholic father. For years, he lived in the pain of neglect and overall sadness of that broken relationship. It wasn't until years later that he discovered some of his father's notes that he began to see good attributes of his dad. I was moved to tears one day listening to this friend tell his dad's story and spoke these powerful words of life: "I got the best of him".
That, my friends, is ONE GREAT ATTITUDE!
Attitude Attribute #3- EXCITED, EAGER, AND EXPECTED TO IMPROVE- "whoever heeds reproof is prudent (vs 5)"- "He who loves the Lord pursues righteousness (vs 9)"- "A scoffer does not like to be reproved, he will NOT go to the wise (vs 12)"-"without counsel plans fail but with many advisors they succeed (vs 22)"-"He who listens to reproof gains intelligence (vs 32)." Another part of having a great attitude is a desire to get better. It is a posture to improve. This type of person shows up everyday with a deep hunger to hear and apply. A person with this attribute will listen to instruction and react positively to constructive criticism. We like being around these people. They say "We can and WILL get better"- and we believe them!
Attitude Attribute #4- POSITIVE OUTWARD DISPOSITION- "A glad heart makes a cheerful face (vs 13). "The light of the eyes rejoices the heart and good news refreshes the bones (vs 30)". Again, we aren't trying to be 'gaawwley Gomer Pyles'- but the energy that comes out of our positive attitudes is infectious. It is an inside out ray of sunshine and hope and is not easily quinched by circumstances.
There are many, many other good thoughts in this chapter- this references our relationship with God more than any so far- we have Him watching us- this chapter mentions our prayer life- but as I was reading I saw the inward and outward expressions of a wise man overflowing with a great ATTITUDE.
What gives me the best chance to live with a great attitude? It is the truth and reality that this world is only temporary and I am on a journey home to be with my father. He is the KING of the universe. He loves me so much that He died for me. He sees the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as total payment of my sin and rebellion. His promises give me great hope that He is going to be with me today and forever. It is nothing based in me- it is a totally free gift that I receive by trust.
In light of that- how can I stay even 1 second in a bad attitude?