...Leads to Troubled Times

Some important things to think about during troubled times, either personal or social:
-- It’s very irritating to be told to “calm down” when you’re irritated.
-- It does no good, and in fact often makes things worse, to try to tell people how they should feel about something.
-- People will resent being told what they should think as much as being told how they should feel.
-- Change how you think, or allow others to help you change your thinking, and you’ll change how you feel; the quality of your thinking may be accurately determined by the quality of your emotional life and reactions;
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” (Jesus Christ, quoted by Matthew in 12:33),
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Same source, quoted by Luke in 6:43-45)
-- Bad thinking, usually the result of ignorance, unreasonable prejudices (cynicism being the among the most common and most virulent), and incorrect assumptions about the world around you and your place in it, leads to depression, anxiety, and other asocial feelings, and, sometimes, anti-social and self-destructive actions.
-- “Good” thinking, defined as rational, logical, honest and realistic (characterized by the humble acceptance of its limitations), is a discipline that must be learned, reinforced and refined, thru diligent practice, just like any other skill, technique or procedure.
-- Good thinking, accomplished consistently and well, always results in better emotional health and pro-social attitudes and activities.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – The Apostle Paul, Greek-influenced rationalist, Hebrew legalist, transformed and transcending both as he was saved by grace, in his letter to the Philippians (4:8).
-- Thinking consistently well is hard work, and as mentioned, requires humility, which also calls for some suppression of our pride and selfish self-centeredness, leading to an attitude of gratitude. That attitude (an emotional response to humble thinking) is so difficult to maintain that it requires mentorship and encouragement from a power greater than ourselves. For me that’s the Holy Spirit and Living word of the Triune God; if you haven’t already, “…may you find Him now”.
-- People struggling to overcome their doubts, their fears, or their resentments know, at some level, that they need to struggle with those things and overcome or correct something in themselves. This awareness makes an essential and important opening for us to help one another think, and thus feel, better.
-- It's those that have given up the struggle to either think or feel better entirely that have damned themselves beyond all but direct divine intervention -- sometimes known as "hitting bottom"... which can be the transformation of surrender into eventual victory.
-- Many of us are unaware of, or unwilling to accept some or all of the above truths, so we try to numb or deny our negative emotional conditions with drugs or diversions, which inevitably fail to achieve any lasting peace or happiness.
Thus, coming full circle, we live in troubled times… personal or social or both.
The road to a better and healthier intellectual and emotional life and a happier existence begins with a single, humble, step:
"I think I can do better..." followed by the another:  "Please, help me...".
(photo credit: Glenn Brock)