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What You Fight Against—Grows

The irony of fighting evil, is that what we fight against, grows. See why in this week’s edition of Isn’t That Ironic?”.

The futility of fighting. It's ironic, but be careful what you fight against.

In my part of the world, most people pride themselves on a beautiful lawn of green grass around their homes. The eternal “War Against Dandelions” has its annual summer campaign. The pretty yellow dandelion flowers are perceived to be a stain on an even, dark green lawn. Yet the best defense against weeds is a strong crop of grass. Nourish the grass—and the weeds get choked out. It might seem ironic, but ignoring the weeds and focusing on the grass is actually a good anti-dandelion tactic.

This is also an important spiritual principle. Nourish the grass in your own life. Water and fertilize every good and pure thought, word, and action in yourself and others. These will grow. Ignore the bad within yourself and others, as much as possible.

St. Paul presents this idea in his letter to the people of Philippi.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8)

Think about the good. Talk about the good. Praise the good. Focus on what you want—not on what you don’t want.

We understand this when raising our children. Children naturally want our attention. Attention is a form of love and they crave love, just as all of us do. But children are an open book; as adults, we cover our need for love and attention with indifference and cynicism. Children will act in ways to get our attention—attention-seeking behavior, we call it.

If we reward all “good” acts (as we perceive them) with attention, those good acts will grow. If children cannot get enough of our attention with constructive and socially acceptable behavior, they will get our attention with annoying, whining, cloying, and even destructive, nasty, power-seeking actions. They quickly learn what gets the attention they crave. As parents, if we focus on what we do want, then what we don’t want tends to wither away.

Rather than rail against the dark—light a candle.

We often use the metaphor of darkness representing evil. Darkness is not really “something” in itself. It is simply the absence of light. Bring light, and the darkness disappears. “It is far better to light a candle than to curse the darkness,” as William Watkinson famously said over a century ago.

There is no need to “fight” against darkness, just as there is no need to “fight” against evil. Bring goodness. Whatever you think is “evil” within yourself, within your family, within your community, within the world—fighting against it will only cause it to grow.

There is also so much good within you, your family, your community, and yes, even within this world. Focus on the good. Focus on, “whatever things are true…” Your life will be better. The whole world will be better.

God Bless You!

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