In Behavioral Psychology, we talk about reinforcing successive approximations to a goal. Overnight Saturday, world leaders reached a six-month agreement with Iran concerning their uranium enrichment/nuclear program. As John Kerry emphasized, it was not the ultimate goal for which they had hoped. It was, instead, a temporary baby step toward a nuclear free, bomb free Iran.
Every Sunday for some long time, I have watched Joel Osteen's sermon and then This Week. Today I was struck by the difference in attitude of the two programs. Joel's message of hope and favor is in large contrast to that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and U. S. Republican negativity.
Joel Osteen quotes scripture of how those of us who believe and declare have God's favor. Netanyahu follows up the news of a temporary deal with how it is an historical mistake and gives off a general attitude it won't work. This comes from the mouth of the leader of God's self-declared chosen people.
Joel Osteen quotes scripture saying God's people, Jews and Christians, have His favor. He says if we are stuck instead of reaping the benefits of that favor, it is because we have not stayed in the faith. We need to declare that favor, expect that favor and leave the house each day having told God thank you for the favor we are about to receive. The Republican response to the announcement of the deal with Iran was they needed to forge ahead with more sanctions on Iran.
On the one hand, we get hope and faith brings an abundance of favor. On the other hand, negativity.
Joel Osteen and Christians are not the only individuals who believe a positive attitude can make a difference in the abundance of good things the people of the world can expect if they positively believe and assume the best. There are other movements that purport that if we expect good we will receive good and vice versa.
Benjamin Netanyahu, of course, has no clue that this column exists. He would negate these thoughts from Joel Osteen, as repeated by this author, with a flick of his hand. In fact, just as easily as he negated the small step toward the common goal of a nuclear free Iran.
The Republican Party as a whole, however, purports to be representative of religious and family values. They hold themselves up as leaders of the country who propose to show us all the "right" way to live. Then they follow up every bright, albeit small, achievement toward success we make with criticism and a bad attitude..
During President Clinton's campaign and presidency, it was common to hear the remark "get with the program". Well, I would like to challenge both Netanyahu and the Republican Party to get with the program. Perhaps you can put your supposed faith in God in gear. Believe in the favor of God. Express and declare your faith in Him. Maintain the positive attitude that faith will achieve. Accept with gratitude the small baby step this agreement brings. Use it as a stepping stone toward the final desired goal and build from there. What can it hurt to have faith this will work?
Shakti Gawain, in her book Creative Visualization, encourages the world to visualize positive results in order to achieve positive results. Can we all do this and abandon this destructive negativity? Perhaps it is time for America to crack out and dust off The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Oh, yes, and then read and reread it. There is a better way to achieve results.