Living or working with people who are contentious can be a challenge. King Solomon could be considered an expert on the subject, with his many wives and concubines. He wrote: “Better to live in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining woman..” Proverbs 21:19 Living Bible) He further stated: “A constant dripping on a rainy day and a cranky woman are alike/” (Proverbs 27:15)

Being around a quarrelsome, cranky, complaining man is no fun either.

On the TV show Mythbusters, it was demonstrated that water torture could drive a person to do anything to stop the torment. The victim was tied down face up, head bound, and water dripped at regular intervals onto his forehead. The constant dripping was unbearable. It was the constant complaining of the Israelites in the wilderness that drove Moses to hit the rock after God had told him to speak to it. He allowed the dripping to cause him to miss the Promised Land.

The Bible says that on one occasion David and his little army returned home and found their town burned down, and their families kidnapped. “And David was greatly distressed, for the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters; but David encouraged himself in the Lord.”(1 Samuel 30:6) He rallied his troops; and they recovered all they had lost, plus the plunder that the enemy had taken from others. Encourage yourself in the Lord, and you will make it.

Attitudes are contagious. When David went to fight the giant, he took five smooth stones, one to kill Goliath, and the others to kill Goliath’s avenging gigantic brothers. David, encouraged by God, encouraged his mighty men; and, they stopped Goliath’s brothers. (2 Samuel 21:16-22) 1 Samuel 22:2 reveals that there was nothing mighty about them until they spent time with David. 2 Samuel 23:8-21 lists some of their seemingly superhuman exploits.

Mark 11:25: “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. if the offense has not been forgiven, it will remain on the victim’s mind, whether in the back or in the forefront, constantly repeating it like a water torture.

Proverbs 17:22A: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” Thankfulness reminds you how blessed you are, and should be practiced daily , not merely on the last Thursday in November.

Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world; but, be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Ideally, mind renewal is more than a DIY project. First, accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. His Spirit then comes into your life. Allow Him to guide you. Surround yourself with positive fellow believers. Spend time in prayer and Bible study. Meditate on God’s goodness. Follow the advice of St. Paul in Philippians 4:8. Notice that it does not merely say, ‘If it is true, think on it.’ It may be true, but, the drippings of a toxic truth can make you and everyone around you sick.

The devil is a liar and an accuser whose purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. Because he is the enemy, we should not do his job by dripping poisonous ideas into our minds. As children of a gracious God, we need not behave as thermometers in our environment- sometimes up, sometimes down. We can be thermostats which change our environment for the better.

Homer McQueen serves as assistant pastor of Mt. Carmel Church of God in Christ, secretary at In His Shadow Outreach Ministries, chaplain for the Sherman District Parole Office, ministry volunteer for the Texas Youth Commission and Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a part-time pharmacist, and a full-time husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Herald Democrat.