‘Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers’ Psalm 1.1
The very first of the psalms describes the way to find joy, and in the opening verse the psalmist tells us what not to do - we should avoid the company of the wicked, sinners and mockers. Now it may well be that you think you actually do this quite well and , if you are honest, you may not find yourself particularly tempted in this way. If you spend much of your day looking after young children or working hard, then opportunities for mixing with evil people thankfully don’t really present themselves too often.
However, this psalm does provide us with a challenge if we think about the company we keep with our own thoughts. It is possible that at times you find yourself wallowing in unforgiveness, thinking unkindly of others or approaching things with
cynicism. The good news in this psalm is that we have choices and if you find yourself doing any of these, then you do not have to. You can choose to continue in the same old way or make a decision to take a different stance. In fact, the nature of temptation is such that it is probably inevitable that such thoughts will come to us, but it is what we do with them that is within our control.
There is an old saying along these lines: ‘You can’t stop birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them nesting in your hair.’ Don’t feel condemned by the thoughts that go through your head, but don’t give them a place to stay either!
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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