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Finally, brethren, 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; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Truth, honesty, justice, purity, loveliness, goodness-these are things that are in short supply in our world these days. But they are things that my heart cries out for. Truth-what is it really? A quote by someone named Blaise Pascal says, “We know the truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart.” Isn’t that the truth? Our heart will always lead us into truth if we will just listen. I sometimes have a knowing deep inside my spirit, and if I go with that truth, I will hardly ever go wrong. Only when I deny that voice, do I wander off the path.

Martin Luther King once said, “…Right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” Yes, I can see that, can’t you? The devil thought he defeated Jesus when he died on the cross, and yet, 3 days later He rose from the dead! (It ain’t over till it’s over!) That is because love and truth will have the final word.

Sometimes there is a great deal of pain and suffering before they do. And sometimes one generation has to die in apparent defeat, so that the next generation can carry the torch to victory. This is certainly true of the Civil Rights movement, which was born from years and years of mistreatment and inequality. It is understandable that the injustice was not righted overnight. It has taken years of struggle (and it still goes on) to achieve something as fundamental as equal rights. But we are getting there, and evil will not prevail. Every generation sees and understands the cruelties of the past, and hopefully, we will continue to move foward toward what is true and right.

So then, what is honesty? Lemuel K. Washburn wrote, “Honesty is never seen sitting astride the fence.” I agree totally. Being “politically correct” is not being honest. Honesty has a choice to make. It must come down on the side of truth always. But for some it is comfortable to sit on the fence and not take a stand. There is no greater traitor in life (to others and themselves) as a man (or woman) who refuses to take a stand. As adults we learn to evade the truth, tell white lies, as well as golden ones, but we rarely tell the truth. I like what Oliver Wendell said, “Pretty much all the honest truth telling in the world is done by children.”

That brings us to justice. In order for someone to be just, they must be impartial. Sadly, there are few impartial people left on earth. People are always weighing what’s in it for them, or what they could lose by standing up for what is right. This results in corrupt judges (and people in general), whose favor can be bargained for. I am beginning to think true justice is a rarity. But I have faith in ultimate justice. That is where so many acts of evil and cruelty will truly be weighed and judged. However, since each of us is without sin, we must also pray for justice, tempered with mercy. Who among us would want to receive what we truly deserve for some of our actions and thoughts?

So what do we say about purity? It means to be undefiled, without pollutants, and free from dust, dirt, or taint. In this world, probably only little children are completely pure and innocent, before life teaches them to hate and hurt others. But to the best of our ability as adults, we should desire purity in our lives. A childlike innocence, a heart of love and compassion for others, a striving to avoid moral and spiritual corruptness. The world  should not dictate to us what is permissible, as the world’s values should not be our own. Even our own conscience can let us down at times. We should be led by the Holy Spirit’s voice within us. The Word tells us that He will lead us into all truth.

And then it says to think on things that are lovely. What is lovely? A flower, a friendship, the flames of a warm fire, poetry, sunshine, rainbows, a hot bath, a good book, an act of kindness, rain on the window, and people who love without expecting anything in return. There are so many lovely things in this world that we overlook, because our hearts are preoccupied and heavy. If we will take time to see the beauty, it is most assuredly there among the heartache and stress of life.

And finally, it mentions things that are of a good report. To me that means the positive, uplifting things in life. When you are around someone who is continually negative, it brings you down also. We all have to vent at times, and we all need to get out the things that are hurting us. This doesn’t mean to hide your feelings. It really means to keep trying to look on the sunny side of things. Don’t assume that tomorrow will be worse than today, or that things will never get better. Think positively and speak positively (whenever you are able).  It can really make a difference in the way you feel. Scientists tell us that our thoughts have a lot to do with our physical and emotional health. Laughter is good medicine, so laugh a little each day (even if it’s at yourself.) That is one thing I enjoy. No matter how much I am hurting, I can still find something funny about the situation, and at times I think that attitude may have saved my life.

So, it’s time to shake the dust off my feet, clear the cobwebs out of my mind, and begin to think on these things…

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