Titus 2:1,7,8 – But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine, shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (KJV)
Recently, I was in need of a couple of photos: one that needed to be sent away, the others, of someone who had passed away. Knowing the dates particular photos had been taken, I sifted through my negatives to choose the appropriate ones for developing.
Merely holding the strips of negatives up to the light bulb didn't reveal enough to narrow the choice down, nor did the light from the illuminated slot at the photo shop, so I chose to have several strips of negatives developed to ensure the correct photos were produced.
There are times in our lives when we may find ourselves as if we are in one of the frames in a strip of negatives — where we are drawn in by the negativity of others around us, allowing it to affect or influence our thoughts and actions. We may be caught up among inappropriate jokes, confidences, or inaccurate tales; we may form an opinion based on only one side of a story. There are times when we may have strayed from that which we know to be sound doctrine, sound speech, thoughts, actions; times when we, or those around us, may have responded in a less gracious or sincere manner.
We are reminded of the old adage, "To err is human; to forgive, divine" — for we are human, we do make mistakes. Certain circumstances sometimes seem to sway us away from qualities of character we've worked hard to develop. Once recognized, we are blessed in that we may seek forgiveness from our Lord and again strive in all things, to show ourselves as living a pattern of good works. In other words, we can remain as a "negative", or hold ourselves up to the light of the Lord and decide to develop a life that shows clearly and beautifully one who follows His word.
Prayer: Our gracious Father, give us strength to weather our storms; and, knowing that you are there to guide us in word, thought and deed, grant us the grace to listen. May we ever remember that our trials, challenges, negativities can be overcome by patterning our lives as you would have us do. In your name we pray. Amen.