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There is no such thing as a curse of bad luck or walking around with a dark raincloud over our heads. There are two factors which create the illusion of bad luck: God inflicting us with trials, and our own choice of emphasis.
CHOICE OF EMPHASIS
Every life is a mix of good and bad. Often when God does a series of things to us which we consider very bad, we adopt a warped perspective of life. We begin looking for the bad and emphasizing the negative while simultaneously ignoring the good. If you were asked to describe the quality of your life over the last year and you proceeded to list off every negative thing that happened to you, both big and small, you would make it sound like you had a terrible life. In the same way, if you only listed off every good thing that happened to you, you’d make your life sound far more perfect than it is. When we choose to emphasize the negative, we become constant gripers who are very draining to be around. When we emphasize the positive to the point that we act like nothing bad ever happens to us, people feel envious and discouraged around us. Either extreme is too much, for the human experience is a mix of good and bad. When we pretend to be an exception to this rule by claiming that our lives are either all good or all bad, we’re just being phony. People can’t relate to someone who claims to be getting his or her way 24/7, and they don’t want to be around someone who is always complaining.
God wants us to be honest about our life experience—acknowledging both the good and the bad. In our own minds, it is far more beneficial to us if we emphasize the positive, focusing on the little blessings each day brings, and practicing gratitude. Practicing gratitude uplifts our souls, while practicing grumbling drags us down. But while we’re looking for the positives, we don’t want to pretend the negatives aren’t there. If a brother is feeling down about the trials he’s going through, we don’t want to say, “Wow, it’s like you’re speaking a foreign language to me. Sad? Depressed? I don’t know what those words even mean.” Such hypocrisy doesn’t help anyone, for we all know that there is no escaping hardship on this earth. We don’t want to use gratitude as an excuse to shun others and make them feel like miserable failures. A brother who is down could use sympathy and encouragement, not a lecture on how invalid his feelings are. But a brother who is always down and who enjoys constantly wallowing in his troubles out loud is only going to encourage you to do the same. Both complaining and cheerfulness can be infectious. We want to spread good cheer that is still honest about the trials of life and not get dragged down by other people’s negative outlook.
GOD’S INVOLVEMENT IN OUR LIVES
Since we’re all going to have to endure our share of hardships in life, and since our flesh is prone to griping, how can we avoid getting stuck in an endless cycle of complaining? The key here is to remember that God has positive reasons for everything He puts us through. Trials are about strengthening our personal relationships with Him. Every trial is like an ugly package that gets dumped off at your front porch all covered with grime and grit. It’s nasty work trying to get through all that yuck to see what’s inside the box, but if you’re willing to get your hands dirty, you’ll end up discovering something very precious inside. Every trial has the opportunity to draw us closer to God. Every trial is a teaching tool which has been carefully constructed by Him to help us progress down the road which will be best for our souls in the long run. When God brings trials into our lives, we want to engage with the Holy Spirit and ask Him to help us learn everything He wants to teach us so that we can get maximum gain out of each experience. The other option is to just huff and groan and gripe about how persecuted we feel. One focus is on the soul, the other is on the flesh. There’s always going to be some griping in the mix, but we want to focus on our souls as much as possible, because developing our spiritual relationship with God is the reason we are here.
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