There is something on this planet that is extremely contagious. It’s more contagious than the common cold, AIDS, herpes, and Ebola all put together. This thing is so contagious that it can cost you everything in an instant. It starts as a thought in your mind and then progresses to an erroneous belief system and then finally, it’s end result is a great deal of pain and anguish. What is this contagious thing? Why, it’s our attitude!
Attitude is what drives ISIS. They have an air of superiority, or, if you will, an attitude of superiority. It drives people to condemn people to hell. It drives others to having their own select group where tradition is one of the main priorities and only a few are allowed in.
What’s the difference between a good attitude and a bad attitude? I think a good attitude is wrapped up in having an honest relationship with our creator, trying our best to observe his Commandments and following his ways, being quick to forgive, allowing God to avenge those who wrong us, instead of seeking revenge ourselves, trying our best to love all people, regardless of the color of our skin, our religious persuasions, and our lifestyles.
A bad attitude has it’s roots in holding grudges, seeking revenge for past hurts, being slow to forgive or not forgiving at all. Desiring to hurt someone because they hurt you.
I experienced this last week. I have a co-worker who I allowed to upset me to the point where I ‘caught’ his attitude. This happened last Friday. As time went by, my attitude began to fester where I wanted to avenge a whole bunch of people who had upset me from the past. Most of these individual’s behaviors centered around bullying. In my mind, I was going to avenge them all, after all, they really hurt me, just like my co-worker was hurting me.
I said to my wife yesterday that I can’t seem to get out of where I was emotionally and couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I was going to talk over things with my wife, but decided to call someone I knew a little further away. What happened next blew me away.
Not only was I holding past people and their derision of me, in unforgiveness, I went to a very dark place of feeling sorry for myself for all the bad things people had done to me. Well, my friend didn’t buy into my pity party, instead she called me on the wrong I did to my co-worker. Yes, there are always more than two sides to a story, there are three. My side, their side, and the truth. My friend called me to be truthful and I really didn’t want to look at the other side because my attitude had convinced me how right I was and how wrong my co-worker was.
What it all boils down is two adults, male I might add, acting like a couple of kindergarten students who are having a fight with each other. They’re squabbling over petty things that shouldn’t have even been spoken about, as it was so minor.
That being said, here is what I walked away with from the experience:
1) Attitudes, especially negative ones, are extremely contagious.
2) God uses the attitudes of others and ourselves to show us what is in our hearts, the good and the bad
3) If I don’t get the message or lesson God is trying to teach me, I will be presented with the same issue again and again until I overcome it and learn it.
4) If I choose to hold onto the negative attitude, it will snowball into a greater offence and incorporate offenses from other people who should have been forgiven or were forgiven in the first place. Holding on to an offence will, in the end, cause me to lose my sanity, as all I will want to do is get even.
5) The battle belongs to the Lord. He will avenge me, in the big things and the little things. I have to give it all to him. He fights our battles, we’re called to love, forgive and to pray for our enemies and those who spitefully use us.
6) The more I seek to avenge myself against another, the more I separate myself from God. Then my wife, then my friends, and everyone else.
7) A festering bad attitude, coupled with the desire to get even, can cause a lot of collateral damage to our family, co-workers, friends and even God. I think the bad attitude was putting my job in jeopardy, as well as it was starting to affect the relationship with my wife. Had this gone on longer, I could have wound up losing everything I had worked for these past two years: A good relationship with God, a beautiful wife, a nice place to live, a good job, and the list just goes on and on. All this because I had a grudge against my co-worker.
I wonder how many people are living in perilous circumstances because they wouldn’t lower their pride and shift their perspective to see things as they really are instead of what they ‘perceive’ them to be. As my friend has said to their young children. “We can do this the hard way or the easy way.” Even though the children were given an option, sometimes they chose the hard way and things did not work out for them as they wanted it to.
So it was for me. I could choose the easy way which is to forgive, let go, and let God, stop playing the tapes in my mind and start behaving like a grown adult, or I could choose the ‘hard’ way and lose my job, my wife, my friends, God? and so many other things. It is just that serious.
If you are racist, a bully, someone who wants to seek revenge on others for things that are so old it has dinosaur doo-doo on it, you want to think it’s everyone else who is wrong and you have done nothing wrong, you feel somehow you are owed money or something else because you have been wronged, or simply having are having a pity party, then chances are you have a bad attitude.