I don’t know about you, but if I take a look at my life from the wrong perspective, I find that I can really get myself down and incensed. There are many times when the frustrating aspects of my life tend to get the better of me, and I begin to see the world in terms of its failings. For example, this past week, I began reflecting on the role a few authority figures have in my life, and I began to be filled with indignation about the unsatisfactory job they are doing. I started to write long speeches in my head of what I would say to them if given the chance and how they would finally realize the negative impact of their actions. I then turned to individuals in my life who are trapped in endless cycles of self-destruction and launched an interior tirade laced with lessons on the proper principles of living and outrage regarding how these destructive practices negatively affect those closest to them. My mind raced on and on as my intentions were squarely set on how these people needed to fix their lives because we were fed up with their ways. I became so consumed with these intentions, that I was suddenly awakened from these misbegotten-musing when in an unrelated conversation, an editorial reading was suggested to me that was published last Christmas. Entitled Moments of Grace in a Grim Year, the article suggests that we tend to summarize and quantify our lives through the negative moments instead of the hopeful ones. Citing a 1968 occurrence, while we were embroiled in Vietnam and plagued with violence and assassinations, the Apollo 8 had sent a photo of the Earth as it was rising over the moon, putting into perspective the troubles we were experiencing that year. The article then continued in citing how difficult a year 2015 was, what with our various shootings, racial disparities, and ever-roughening politics, but that if we look at the good that was accomplished in that year (the positive global response to refugees, the Parisian climate change agreements with 195 nations, our country’s ever-increasing inclusion of immigrants both illegal and legal), we gain perspective on the ills that plague us; it’s our focus that is all wrong. Paul wrote about this misguided perspective in Romans 8.18, about how we should not center on what is wrong in our lives but what is right: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” For Paul, the things he was currently going through, although horrible, all came to nothing when he focused on God’s glory. If we are viewing the world for all its misgivings and faults, of course we will be disheartened. But it’s not the world that is off, it’s our perspective. Going back to my original predicament, I can easily focus on the people over me and my accompanying displeasure, but I can also look at the blessing of having a wonderful job filled with lots of people that I look forward to seeing every day. I can zero in on said individuals self-destructive behaviors, but I can also be thankful that they are in my life and will love me no matter what. When we shift our mindsets from what is wrong to what is right, we find consistent reason for praise and celebration; we can more easily see His hand in all things. Like the members of Emanual African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston who, when a racially-motivated shooter took nine, choose forgiveness and unity over hatred and vengeance, we too can look towards the good in life and find His blessings and mercy. With the correct focus, your perspective and approach to life will change for the better. Amen.