Before answering the question noted at the end of last week’s post, I would like to focus on one other individual who maintained a good attitude irrespective of the harm done to him. His name is David and he is by far my favorite character. He had many flaws, committed many mistakes but his heart was always right, and he never justified any of his wrongdoings.
Before chosen to be King, he was a shepherd boy. Biblical accounts tell us that he protected his sheep. He even fought the bears and lions who tried to harm his flock and he prevailed. If I were in David’s position, I am not sure I would have risked my life for the sheep in the same manner. I probably would have offered a sheep to the lion and bear and saved myself the hassle of playing “Hero” and endangering my own life. Surely, he could have explained when he got home that the bear prevailed, and they lost a sheep, but he chose to do otherwise even when no one was watching.
His mission was to care for his sheep and he was willing to give it all he had. You will recall that it is this same confidence and skill that he relied on to defeat Goliath at a very crucial time in the history of Israel. Little did he know that his daily attitude of seeking the best for his sheep would serve as a training ground for his future path. It is important to note that as a shepherd boy, he had no idea that he would one day become King.
I sometimes wonder how he managed to stay positive during his shepherd days. What kind of conversation could he possibly have with Sheep? Even if he encountered other shepherds on the way, I theorize that he might have felt lonely and longed for real friendship. What kind of future did he think he was going to have? What was he going to do differently to change the course of his life given that he was given the task of a shepherd boy by his family? I don’t think he ever imagined he would one day be king. Unbeknownst to David, all those seemingly insignificant moments would prepare and qualify him for a higher calling.
Isn’t it true that sometimes the darkest, loneliest and most confusing times of our lives is the perfect breeding ground for developing great character for the future? What happens then if we fail to recognize those problems as opportunities I don’t think David would have mustered the courage to fight Goliath if he didn’t have a prior “wilderness” experience. One important lesson I glean from David is the fact that the “bears and lions” of life would always attack and if we fail to fight to protect what we have, we would simply hemorrhage our future.
After David is anointed King and he has many reasons to inflict pain or bring harm to Saul, he refrains from doing so and waits for God’s own timing. While waiting, he continued to conduct himself wisely. Like every human, David was not without his flaws, nonetheless, he was quick to repent of his mistakes. He never justified any wrong doing; he accepted responsibility for his actions and the consequences therein. Having a positive attitude does not imply perfection, on the contrary it requires being humble enough to accept one’s mistakes and to make amends, whatever it takes. It’s the reason why even God himself had to admit that David was a man after His own heart.
Your attitude is literarily your life. I have spent countless years pondering over how I was unfairly treated as a child and then one day, I had an aha moment, an epiphany. I cannot control what others say or do but I can control how I choose to react. Life is truly war and each day we awake, we ought to continue to choose our battles wisely.
In answering the questions posed, I would say that maintaining a positive attitude does not include you becoming a door mat or acting as a passive recipient of all injustice/ violence. Staying positive entails infusing wisdom into every situation, making right choices and exploring every option to stay safe and well. When Saul threw a javelin at David, David moved to avoid being killed by it. Saul’s purpose was to kill David, but David applied wisdom and found a solution that saved his life. He did not try to throw back the javelin at Saul or go purchase his own, neither did he sit idle and accept his fate. He “moved”.
If you are the recipient of a pattern of abuse or violence, you’ve got to ask yourself certain critical questions and take necessary actions. Sometimes, you must move away completely from the situation to save yourself, other times, you must seek help. In all you do, don’t just sit idle. Make a move right now. If you are the perpetrator of any form of abuse/violence, the time to stop is NOW. Seek help, stay alive, stay positive.
Wishing everyone a great and productive week ahead.