Weekly Thought – September 7, 2021
Fred regarded emotional control and civility highly. He valued maturity in society. As an analytical, he considered the strategies for right thinking a necessary element for all leaders.
Our society has become so obsessed with winning that we have exchanged honest competition for a philosophy of life – making winning synonymous with winning and losing the effective definition of wrong. In the “win at all costs” culture everyone is an adversary. In such a situation I rarely see civility as the standard. The outcome of perpetual contest is that we stand alone and alienated. Incivility lives itself out as a disease of separation.
Our conversational styles are caught up by this philosophy. “In your face” is currently acceptable, but certainly has no Biblical foundation. The phrases “Just Do It” and “Outta My Way” create a language of incivility resulting in thoughts and actions of rudeness.
Controlling our attitudes and establishing respect for others requires discipline and a system. In my long study of emotions I developed a formula that I will share with you. Experiment and see if it will help you as it has helped me. “First the thought, then the mood, then the rationalized action.” By this I mean, first the thought comes into our mind and if we keep it long enough to give it validity it drops down into our heart and creates a mood. After this, the mood rationalizes the action. For example, when we harbor anger as a thought, it turns into a mood, and then plays out as a hostile action.
How do we work the formula for a successful outcome? We start by keeping the destructive thought out of our hearts.
Thoughts which aren’t given credibility or space will be fleeting. But if we dwell on it and give it the power to create a mood, we have taken a step toward action. Thoughts and actions are linked. “As a man thinks, so is he.”
I am not suggesting we have the ability to clear our minds of all thoughts, I know that just isn’t so. The important thing is to substitute another, healthier thought in its place. My Mother used to warn us that “idle minds were the devil’s workshop.” Even in scripture we are told in our thinking to consider truth, nobility, rightness, purity, loveliness, admirableness, and praiseworthiness.
If our goal is civility, then our mental discipline must be starting with civil thoughts. If we want to live nobly, then ignoble thoughts must be discarded. We must work to reprogram our minds, replacing the bad with the good. Emotional, mental, control will help us create social civility. Understanding the process of guarding the mind and heart allows us to take control of our actions which is the foundation of a civil society.
This week think about: 1) When do I most struggle with allowing unhealthy thoughts to grab hold? 2) How am I establishing mental disciplines to protect my thought life? 3) Which are my most productive moods?
Words of Wisdom: “First the thought, then the mood, then the rationalized action.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Now immediately, when Jesus realized in his spirit that they were contemplating such thoughts, he said to them, ‘Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?’” (Mark 2:8 NET Bible)