Crazy title I know, but stick with me here.
On one of our recent trips (we have had many so they have all blurred together at this point) I saw a sign in a public restroom that said “Avoid contamination”…and then something about washing hands. I wish now I had risked weird looks and taken a picture of it because for some reason that saying has just been stuck in my mind.
Maybe because I have not seen a hand washing sign with such strong words, or maybe because, well I do not know. But every since, I have been mulling that phrase around in my mind. And I starting wondering- just how do we avoid contamination? Other than the obvious washing of hands.
Here’s what I have been processing.
Our lives can be easily contaminated. Let’s face it, we do not live in a perfect world with perfect people. Except for totally isolating ourselves (a very tempting option for me sometimes) our lives are eventually going to be exposed to things, situations, and yes, even people that can contaminate it. Sad, but true.
So what are those things we must avoid and how?
Gossip. Glass half full mentality. Whatever it looks like, it is bad. It hurts not only you but the people around you. Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight.” We attended a church where the pastor recited that passage every Sunday before he preached. It was seared into my brain and I have found it to be a good scripture to recite to myself on many occasions. When we are tempted to say things we should not, share things we should not, or even think things we should not, we need to stop and reverse direction. Literally walk away if you have to, but do not be a part of those types of situations.
You know what I mean here. Words like always, never, you don’t, you can’t, you won’t. If you are a fan of the Love and Respect book, you already know that those words are not good in a marriage. They are not good in any relationship. They tear people down, disrupt communication, and build walls. When we use negative words, especially to words of affirmation people like me, we wound hearts sometimes beyond repair. We need to purpose to use kind and affirming words to each other, not only the people we are closest to but to anyone we made contact with. Can you imagine what a nicer world this would be if everyone spoke kindly to each other?!
There are just some people who can suck the life out of us if we allow them to. It is my firm belief that we try to minister to those people, but at some point if things do not change you need to free yourself from those types of relationships. Always focusing on the negative will drain you, as will the people who encourage you to do so. They can suck you dry and eventually you can become the very thing you are avoiding. “Do not be deceived. Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Cor. 15:33
This one may be the hardest for me. I am too often my own worst enemy. I let fear, worry, and life overwhelm me at times. Then, all you need to do is add the outside voices of others and THEIR fear, worry, and yuck to my brain and I can easily succumb to contamination. The Bible says we must “…take every thought captive…” ( 2 Cor. 10:5) Do you see that? Every thought! That means the fear. And the worry. And the yuck stuff too. We need to take those thoughts captive and speak truth to ourselves.
It is no secret that we are pretty strict around here about what movies we watch. With the addition of VidAngel to our life we are venturing out with more movies these days since we can censor them to fit our convictions. Regardless of your convictions though, the Bible tells us in Phil 4:8, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Seriously, friends, there is some not lovely and pure stuff out there. The less we fill our hearts and minds with that kind of stuff the better. As my husband tells our kiddos, trash in, trash out!
Contamination comes in many forms. It is a daily, sometimes hourly, battle to separate ourselves from it. But separate we must. You will be blessed by your efforts, I assure you!
Avoiding contamination right there with you, my friend!