You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mr. In-Between
These words are from the song, “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive,” written by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen and published in 1944. The lyrics seem to be good advice after two years of a pandemic and the weariness many of us are experiencing with all the bad news we hear every day.
It takes a firm effort and constant determination to be a positive thinker nowadays. We cannot deny or minimize the hardships the virus has caused many of us, but, with the help of God, we have to try to keep moving positively forward, little by little.
I can find myself starting to complain about something—for example, not going out to restaurants where many people could be, and thus, having to do so much cooking at home; then I remind myself how grateful I am that I have food and the ways and means to prepare it. I try to turn complaining into thanking God for his gifts to me.
I could complain about food prices rising, but then I realize that it would not hurt me to lose a little weight and to cut back on the foods I really don’t need! It is so easy to become negative and feel sorry for ourselves, but we can be better than that if we recognize that the Lord loves us and will help us. We read in Isaiah 41:10,
(Do) not fear, for I am with you,
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
In the incident described in the gospel reading in today’s liturgy, Mark 6:53-56, the people of the Gennesaret region recognized Jesus and promptly brought the sick and suffering to him for healing. They were so sure of Jesus’ power that they trusted that even touching the tassel of his cloak would produce healing.
Granted, Jesus does not always instantly heal us of our sufferings, but we can have faith that he is with us, knows the future, and will help us when we patiently pray. From my experience, it is good to share positivity with others through uplifting conversation. Reminding ourselves and others of even small past blessings encourages positivity.
Many verses in Scripture offer us encouragement. St. Paul accentuates the positive when he tells us in Romans 8:28,
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.
St. John quotes Jesus’ words that give us hope,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the
world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
Optimism is bolstered by Philippians 4:6-7,
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of
God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
“Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.