We are What We Think

Photo by Tito & Eva Marie Balangue (Creative Commons)


On Sunday night, December 30th, like many others in the Washington, D.C. metro area, my family and I were glued to the television cheering on the Redskins to a decided victory over the Dallas Cowboys.  The game was a cliff-hanger close to the final minutes when the Redskins clinched their lead over the Cowboys to win the NFC East, propelling them to a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday. Go Skins!

Throughout the game, seemingly every fifteen minutes or so, and at least a dozen times, we were subjected to the same horrific commercial over and over. The commercial was advertising the latest of the mind-numbing exploitative chainsaw movies and showed some poor beautiful blond-haired girl getting one of her limbs chainsawed off.  I’m not kidding.  At first my youngest sister spoke loudly to anyone listening, especially the very young among us, to cover their eyes because they didn’t need to see images like that at their age. True enough. Or at any age.  And by the second time the commercial was about to come on someone changed the channel for the duration of that commercial.  One of my nieces mentioned to me that she didn’t have to wait for her Mom to tell her not to watch the commercials –  that they were scary enough that she didn’t want to see them either.  Me neither.  And God bless my sister and the other channel-flippers.

What I wanted to do with that chainsaw commercial, and to all similar images, is what we can all do so easily on our iPads …. when we hit the trash button and we’re able to see some unwanted piece of electronic material go whipping across the screen and then land with a swish into the trashcan with its wide-open lid!  That’s exactly where movies and images such as that belong – in the trash.  There’s nothing redeeming about them.  Nothing.  Period.

I know you all are already good about this, but let that example be a good invitation for all of us to be aware of what we put into our minds. To be careful not to watch things we don’t want to later remember again and again.  There’s a lot of unnecessary violence in the world, images no one should see.  Let’s all do everything we can to flood our minds instead with positive life-giving images.  St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians (4:8) says that we should fill our minds with things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report …. anything virtuous or praiseworthy.  Paul says to meditate on these things.

This is God’s Word’s version of what we would probably call “the art of positive thinking.”  It’s trying to fill ourselves – to fill our very spirits – with the very best possible positive thoughts.  Remember the old cliché, “We are what we eat” – well, we also are what we think.  May we all, by what we put into our minds, become true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.  These are images worth remembering again and again and again.

Peace friends,





  • Chuck says:

    Thanks for the movie recommendation, Susan! I’d love to hear from anyone else who has a good movie suggestion. I recently enjoyed “Lincoln” — Daniel Day-Lewis did an amazing Oscar-worthy portrayal of Lincoln …. I loved that I was completely blown away by one plot line Steven Spielberg decided to include which was so encouraging. And lastly, watching that historic session of congress gave me hopes for this next session of Congress which begins today!

  • Susan says:

    I agree – we ARE what we think! I saw a lovely movie called “The Letter Writer” on Netflix. I highly recommend it. It has so many wonderful messages, but the one I like the best is when the elderly gentleman tells the teenager, “Life is like a mirror. Who you are is reflected by those around you. . . If you want to be surrounded by good and helpful people, be good and helpful yourself.”

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