“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

– Galatians 5:22-23

When Edith moved to a new town, she missed her best friend. She began calling her friend every week, but after two or three chats she noticed a disturbing trend. Every time she called, her friend boarded a negative train.

She would complain about her husband, her kids, and her job. Every positive would somehow be transformed and her words were all gloom and doom.

Finally, Edith decided to gently re-direct her friend’s thoughts. When the other woman began complaining Edith would ask a question. She asked questions like these:

• What’s happened to you this week that’s been good?

• What are you praising God for today?

• Who has been blessing you this month?

Slowly, her friend began to move her focus from the negative to the positive.

Like Edith, you may have a friend or loved one that’s always looking at the worst-case scenario. But you can gently encourage your friend by asking questions that shift her focus.

Social media often lends itself in the same direction as our friend Edith discovered conversations with her friend would go. We live in a time when people find themselves angry, and we wonder what is happening.

Watching the Indianapolis news lately has become disturbing. Police are saying they see an uptick in bad behavior. Anger is easy to find as there are now over 200 homicides in that city not far from where we live.

As we see it play out on our TV screens and social media platforms, we wonder why? It seems that following the isolation we all have experienced over the past months, people are not feeling peaceful.

If you have found yourself quick to be angered and not sure why, ask God to help you taste of the fruit of the spirit of love, joy, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

God, let the words I speak to my friends and family be encouraging. I don’t want to bring them down with a sour outlook. Show me how to uplift and minister to others during our conversations. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Dr. Michael Layne can be reached at 812-614-2160 or, www.faithpoints.org

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