Gospel Message & Recording
In the Gospel Reading today, which many of us are familiar with, the Angel Gabriel is charged with announcing the good news to Zachariah, a Priest at the Temple, that his wife, Elizabeth, who has been barren since the time of marriage to her old age, would give birth to a son, who would be called John, the one to prepare the way for Jesus Christ the Messiah. Such an announcement, even by an Angel of God, could not do enough convincing for Zachariah to believe, especially since in his mind his wife was beyond the human capacity to give birth. The Angel Gabriel, responding to Zachariah, made him mute, as a form of punishment for his disbelief or negative response.
What we see here is that Zachariah got the best news delivery that anyone could receive. An Angel of God came to him to tell him the news. It’s not a dream or vision but an actual visitation. It was this I believe that made the Angel respond so harshly. Doubting was not necessary, because it was such a personal and direct encounter. What Zachariah was dealing was “negative” thoughts. Despite the fact that Angel Gabriel gave him a direct message, Zachariah’s negative thoughts were overpowering. It disabled him from seeing what God wanted to do in his life. In a similar way, negative thoughts could keep us from seeing the plans that God has for us. Such thoughts could hurt our spiritual growth, marriage, work performance, etc. So, then, how to we deal with our negative thoughts so that we can improve our lives?
1) Don’t run away: meaning, don’t try to dodge your negative thoughts; rather, accept the fact that they are there. Think of a thought as a ship passing-by on a river as you watch it float by. Look at it! By looking at it you acknowledge that it is there; but at the same time don’t let it come to the harbor and anchor itself. Let the ship pass-by. This allows us not to get guilty over our thoughts but rather it allows us to move on. Guilt makes things worse. In fact it perpetuates the problems. Another analogy is to see negative thoughts as birds flying by. They can fly by but don’t allow them to land. Simply put: we must acknowledge that our thoughts are there, and “see” them as they are, however disgusting and disturbing they may be. Negative thoughts are a part of life, but we don’t have to give them a “place to land” or “harbor” in our life.
2) Speak positive words: after we have acknowledged our negative thoughts, we should speak positive words in our surrounding area. This is extremely important. In other words, if our negative thoughts are about our looks, then say out loud, “I am a child, created beautifully and wonderfully.” If our thoughts are about our sins and how we can overcome them, then say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Likewise for other negative thoughts say similar positive statements.
3) Take it easy: laugh, and enjoy your life. If you are married enjoy the time you have with your wife and children. Take the things seriously where you need to. But in most cases, as I have experience, don’t be too serious; and sometimes laugh it off.
In conclusion, dealing with negative thoughts means we have to acknowledge that they are there rather than escaping them. Secondly, replace or combat negative thoughts with positive statements about yourself. Third, laugh and enjoy life. If we do this, I believe we will be able to live a more content life.