I just watched an episode of the Andy Griffith Show (first aired in January of 1964) in which Andy and Helen and Barney and Thelma Lou went on a picnic. Unfortunately for Andy, Helen, and Thelma Lou, earlier in the morning Barney had an embarrassing experience and was in a bad mood. Because of his foul mood, Barney was a wet blanket on the others and almost ruined the picnic for the other three.

Have you ever done anything like that? I have and I am sorry. I remember times when our children were young and I allowed my frustration and stress in getting ready to go ruin the first part of an outing or even vacation.

Before I saw Barney’s downer attitude on TV I had heard a song I thought said “don’t bring me down” that reminded me of times when my attitude and actions brought others down and others have done the same for me. The correct lyrics “can’t bring me down” do not change my request to others “don’t bring me down” or my desire to not bring others down. To me, allowing your bad luck, bad day, or bad mood to rob the joy of those with you in whatever you’re doing is simply being selfish.

I play a lot of golf and sometimes don’t play very well. And when a person enjoys golf as much as I do, to struggle with your game can be disconcerting. Long ago I made the decision that because of my poor play I would not allow my attitude to ruin it for the guys I’m playing with. I wish everyone I play with would make the same decision.

Here are a couple of quotes (edited) from an article by Phil Cooke entitled Stop Wallowing in Negativity and Constant Complaining that sheds light on the issue. “We must be very careful about wallowing in our disappointments and frustrations because negativity can easily build momentum. Don’t let your frustrations and your complaining take control. Find the positive and learn to see the good. You’ll find your attitude will change, and before long you’ll become a positive voice.”

The title of this post is a request for all of us to give some thought to our attitude and actions when things are not going the way we wish they would. Are we going to be selfish and bring others down and ruin things for them? I hope not.

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photo credit: Semtrio Silver Iphone 6 – Credit to https://www.semtrio.com/ via photopin (license)


New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson notes “Belief and faith are closely related but not identical.” I’m not sure what the difference is between faith and belief, but I am sure both are important.

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of believe and faith in the Bible. Here are just three:

Hebrews 11:1 gives a partial definition of faith: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (NLT).

Hebrews 11:6 underscores the necessity of faith:  And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (NLT).

John 3:16 is one of the best known verses in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The words obviously overlap in meaning, and sometimes forms of the words are used interchangeably, but if Johnson is right they are not exactly the same. What further complicates the meaning of the words is that different people mean different things by them.

Having given it some thought, if pushed to differentiate, my take is that belief is primarily about content and faith is more oriented to living according to one’s belief. One writer observes people can believe something is true without it mattering in their lives.

When someone says this is what I believe they are affirming the content of their belief (or faith). Creeds and statements of faith are lists of teachings or body of content of what a person or group believes. When someone says I have faith in something (or someone) they are referring to their trust or expectation about something or someone they believe.

Equally important, faith and belief are lived out in one’s life. What we really believe is shown in how we live. I like two phrases that seem to me to bring it all together: “keep the faith” and “stay faithful.”

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