You Are Free To Choose Attitude
I have been reading "Man’s Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl. Guys, this is one of the hardest books of the suffering in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany I have read. The level of suffering inflicted and experienced upon the Jews is plainly satanic. In this book, he explains how prisoners would move from being able to feel emotions to apathy. When prisoners would die, instead of mourning, other prisoners would rush for anything they could salvage: torn shoes, mittens etc. At some point he describes food being so scarce that some prisoners looked for fresh human meat to cook. At one time, after taking care of some prisoners, he stood by the fence looking out in the fields, dreaming of his wife. Next to him was a rotting corpse, flies and bugs enjoying the feast but he was not moved.
The Nazis were so hell bent on stripping their dignity and humanity: calling them pigs and constantly yelling commands, beating them. Viktor writes that as they sat next to each other picking lice, they look at their bodies and think, "I am a small portion of a great mass of human flesh…of a mass behind barbed wire… a mass of which daily a certain portion begins to rot because it has become lifeless." This is only scratching the surface of the suffering. I am not even talking about the women. He then comments that at some point one lost the feeling of being an individual, a being with a mind, inner freedom and personal value. One’s personal value descended to the level of animal life. How depressing.
But in the midst of all this incredible suffering, he asks, "Does man have no choice of action in the face of such circumstances?" He then says that yes, man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress. After seeing a few prisoners doing good to others and even his own actions towards others, he says that even though everything might be taken away, there is ONE THING THAT CAN NEVER BE TAKEN AWAY - TO CHOOSE ONE'S ATTITUDE. The kind of person the prisoner became was a result of an inner decision. One had to choose what became of them spiritually and mentally. IT WAS A CHOICE.
So in reading this, I have had to check my attitude during these trying times in our nation. God has generally given me a great attitude of joy, but there are times this season, it has been hard for joy to be central. When California shut down again, I sunk into a funk for 2 days. But I played worship music and chose to exercise like crazy (the first time in a while I did not feel like exercising). And God gave me His joy back. Your attitude will be driven by the joy of the Lord. The Bible says the joy of the Lord is my strength (Neh 8:10) This does not mean you will not experience some emotional, mental and psychic challenges as we suffer, but we can bear it and make meaning out of it.
Recently, one of my friends asked me to pray for a family member who is a die-hard Online member of ONE&ALL. Danielle has been fighting cancer for 3 years. It had spread even to her brain. Yet when I talked to her, the joy of the Lord was so radiant in her smile, just beaming. She said to me that this is the closest she has ever been to Jesus. You would not know she is suffering intensely. She is still fighting so she is around for her husband and 2 young children.
I would like to encourage anyone reading this who is going through any intense suffering; cancer, loss of a job, any kind of sickness, sick loved ones. I would like to encourage teachers who have a tough job this fall teaching children on video (sorry), to the one who is losing their home, to the one who has a tough job to do without much appreciation, to the one who has faced racism and to the safety officers who feel trampled on, CHOOSE JOY. It happens when you sit with your heavenly Father daily. It will determine what kind of person you will be. The opposite will leave you bitter, resentful, argumentative, depressed and perhaps annoying to be around.
YOU ARE FREE TO CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE THIS SEASON.