Should we focus on the positive?

I frequently endure criticism because my focus is often on sin and its prevalence in our culture.  It can arguably be said that this is unbiblical.  We are to think about those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.  When we do this, when we think upon these things, maybe we don’t give way to sin.  In other words, instead of focusing on sin, we should focus on things that are virtuous and praiseworthy.  Maybe this is our way out.  Maybe it’s harder to break free from the bondage of sin when that is where we direct our attention.  Our sins may seem insurmountable when we dwell on them.  But what happens if we direct our attention to something else?  If you struggle with eating too much or too often, then get out of the kitchen.  Go somewhere else.  If idle time gives rise to sin, then get busy, find a distraction.  Now, the reason I focus on sin is because it is so prevalent.  I’m not judging others or throwing stones.  I am simply making observations about my surroundings, the world in which we live.  Maybe Lot should have been more sensitive to his surroundings.  The fact of the matter is that we are surrounded by sin and we should be aware of it, or else we may find ourselves in the same place as Lot.  Yesterday, my wife shared a thought with me.  She wondered what we would think about our culture if we extracted ourselves from it, like monks, for a period of time to purify ourselves.  How would we feel when we returned back to our culture?  To some extent, this is what we do, my family and I.  We work at home, we homeschool, we go to church, we attend bible studies, we participate in sports and recreational activities sponsored by churches and/or homeschool groups, and in other ways, we surround ourselves with other Christians, other people who are like-minded.  Moreover, we guard ourselves against the outside world.  We don’t watch television, we don’t listen to secular radio, we don’t read pop-culture magazines, and we use an Internet filter (i.e., Covenant Eyes) to protect our family from inappropriate content.  Is this biblical?  Absolutely.  We are in the world, not of the world.   And if we become supersensitive to the darkness about us because we reside in a bubble, is that wrong?  Does it make us judgmental because we are sensitive to the darkness about us, because we see much of our culture like it is?  Living in a bubble does not make us without sin.  We have a sinful nature and when left to our own devices, we fail – I fail miserably.  So, we shelter ourselves from the world to the extent that we can.  Several years ago, I was listening to American Family Radio.  A man was being interviewed about his willingness to quit his job and move his family to a place to protect his children from an environment that was not conducive to living a Godly life.  I think this is commendable but to our culture, this man is strange.  When I moved into my current neighborhood, five daughters lived with their parents.  Their ages ranged from their early-thirties to their late-forties.  They were committed to Christ.  I think this is commendable but to our culture, these girls are strange.  Talking about righteousness, striving to live righteously, encouraging others to do the same, it’s not tolerated.  You are either a legalist or you are judgmental.  You can share Christ with others but you can’t talk about repentance.  But if you don’t talk about repentance, then you are sharing a half-truth.  And how can you teach repentance without understanding that from which you need to repent?  Sometimes, for some, the only message about repentance is going to come from the mouth of someone else.  And we can’t teach repentance if we just focus on the positive.

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