I remember once seeing a wordless cartoon of a man in an office whose boss is yelling at him. The man goes home and yells at his wife. The wife turns to yell at the kid. The kid yells at the dog, the dog barks at the cat, who yells at the goldfish who has no idea what this is all about.
That is exactly how negativity passes from one person to another. We all know negative people. We know them at school, at work and yes, even in our church. Some of them whine, are always critical and never satisfied. Others are harsh, nasty and angry. And still others are cynical, malicious, sarcastic, and unfriendly. We know to stay out of their way. And there are those who follow only their egos and desires, doing whatever it takes to attain their goals, leaving behind a long trail of negativity, pain and destruction.
On the opposite end are those who exude light and positive energy. Light hearted, caring, and optimistic, they smile in a negative world, never speaking an unkind word and refusing to accept negativity. These person's lives are not perfect, but they choose to live on the sunnier side of life. Unfortunately, this is the minority.
Both of these are at the extreme ends. In real life we are both negative and positive. Everyday we work to balance the positive and negative energy that conflicts us.
Laughing is a positive thing. But laughing at the expense or ridicule of another is negative. Giving compliments to someone is a great thing, but telling someone their flaws is not. Thinking things through can lead to good decision making and productivity, but anxiety and worry may lead to the fear and paranoia of negative outcomes.
Some of us are constantly fending off the negativity that pushes against us. The bad experiences of life take a heavy toll on our spirit. If gone unchecked, we can become the same grumpy, sad and friendless people we criticize and try to AVOID.
People do not become negative overnight. There are more than a few happy-go-lucky kids who grew up to become nasty or depressed old people because of the negativity accumulated over the years. How many people spend their adult lives trying to prove themselves to the world because of a few bad kids who taunted them in childhood?
Negativity is a killer. Negativity will kill your present life and kill any chance of a future fulfilling life. Negativity creates more negativity. Negativity sticks around and leaves deep wounds that do not heal easily. And negativity is VERY contagious.
Everyday we see the negativity of the world prevail. TV channels feature catty gossip and opininated talk shows criticizing, mocking and exposing the flaws of our world, reducing people to one-dimensional cartoons. Or shows that investigate the negative side of humanity, focusing on murder, crime and mayhem. Our sports shows glorify our competitive and aggressive nature. And the internet presents all the uncensored nastiness and mouthing off of what we all really think about each other.
Negativity is our way of life. No one likes negativity, yet everyone participates in it and at a moments notice... joins right in. How many of us jump into a gossip session or throws in a snide remark if a person's name is mentioned?
The fruit of negativity is too large to list: pain, division, anger, fear, sadness, paranoia, isolation, bitterness, etc.
Doctors have found that negativity weakens the body's immune system and prolongs sickness. An angry, pessimistic, stressed, depressed or isolated patient may take longer to heal than a person who is at peace, optimistic, loved and supported. Yes, negativity affects our physical and mental health.
Churches are not exempt from the influence of negativity. Some negative churches teach their members to fear God using guilt to get their congregations to avoid sin, instead of teaching them that by loving God and loving their neighbors, they will not sin.
A negative church raises negative Christians. You can tell them by their fruit.
Their focus is NOT on 'forgiveness', 'grace', 'hope' or 'love'...but 'sinners', 'corruption', 'damnation' and 'hellfire'. They love to SCARE their members to God. They succeed not ONLY in making their members afraid of God, but ALSO nervous and afraid that the devil will get them. They reluctantly serve God to save themselves from hell. They have no love for others, but care only for their self-preservation.
But a positive church shows God's love to their members and that love conquers ALL. They shine with the light of God and there is no shame or fear because God's love is greater than anything...including the devil. Instead of trying to protect themselves from sin around them, they seek to love people around them.
A negative church creates coarse, self-righteous, divisive members who isolate themselves and demonize those who disagree with them. I have witnessed where it only took one negative person whose angry nit picking caught fire with other members and eventually brought down the whole church.
Negativity is a great tool of the devil.
No church is ever 100% negativity free. Many can have great music, worship, sermons and teachings...yet still have hidden prejudices, in fighting, gossiping and self-righteousness amongst themselves. In a church setting, many people can SENSE that something doesn't seem right, but because the pastor practices it or people in the congregation don't say anything against it, then it must be OK. Right? WRONG!
How many good intentioned churches have all the makings of a great place of worship, but quietly keep out "undesirables" or teach their congregations that certain people are not loved or forgiven by God. Or teach that God only cares about following the rules exactly. Somehow, forgiveness, love and grace are secondary.
But churches that follow the positive Light of Jesus teach of a loving God who came to give us grace. A church that lives in the positive light of God will never turn anyone away and accepts all people into their communities, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Judging no one, the church seeks to love as Jesus loved. You can feel the love of the Spirit in these churches.
Positive and negative energies are real forces that are part of the universal creation of God. Cold and hot. Light and dark. Joy and sadness. Love and hate. Good and evil.
One of the rules of positive and negative energy is that they each attract and draw more to itself. Positive energy attracts more positive energy. Negative energy attracts more negative energy. Positive people will find each other. Negative people will also find each other. A positive group can create a loving community to do good. A negative group can create an ugly mob.
But positive energy brings happiness, peace, healing and love. Positive energy has the potential to turn negativity around. I have seen a smile generate another smile. A laugh brings another laugh. The one who gives a gift, receives a gift in return. I have seen a person who welcomes a stranger be rewarded with a loyal friend.
I have also seen a complaint bring another complaint. A person who judges someone, gets judged in return. A mocking comment blow up into a vicious fight. Negativity can turn a peaceful situation into all out war.
I have seen positive people get more: get more love, get more friends, get more favors and get more opportunities. And I have seen negative people lose their friends, lose their chances, lose their job and chase people away. Their negativity just brings more negativity into their lives, making them more unhappy, more isolated and more frustrated. It is a bad downward spiral, yet they themselves can't even see it. In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus said that he who has, will more be given and he who doesn’t have, what little he has will be taken away. - Matthew 25:29.
Negative energy always produces negative fruit. Negative energy can squash positive energy. A negative thought, comment or action is very good at destroying good things and making someone or something fail. A negative remark becomes a negative rumor that becomes a false witness, which becomes an ugly situation. It is the snowball effect.
Believers and nonbelievers understand this universal law. Companies understand this. Advertisers understand this. Politicians understand this. Wall street understands this. Nations understand this and yes, churches understand this...and each uses the forces of negativity to control people to suit their own needs.
Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Light."- John 14:6. He asks us to live at the positive end of the spectrum. Trusting in the positive love of Jesus is what brings goodness.
Jesus did all things positive. Besides the positive energy of greeting strangers, feeding the poor, healing the sick, welcoming the rejected, He taught us to stop the negativity and make all things good: to forgive those who hurt us, to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek if someone strikes us, instead of complaining to give thanks...all things to stop negativity and turn things around.
When His disciple Peter sliced off the ear of a servant of a high priest who was among the mob arresting Jesus, Jesus rebuked Peter and healed the servant’s ear, saying “No more of this!” (Luke 22:51). Yes, even among those who were taking Him captive, Jesus did not return their evil. Jesus taught us to turn a bad situation into good. To turn hatred into love. To turn ugliness into beauty.
The funny thing is, those who are vehemently negative against the Christian church, have only positive things to say about Jesus. Even leaders of other religions recognize the goodness of Jesus. They have nothing negative to say about Him. Many non-believers believe Jesus to be a "good man", a "great teacher" or a "cool dude", but they have plenty of bad things to say about us His followers who CAN'T seem to follow Him very well and mix the Good News of Jesus with our own human negativity.
We don’t realize that our negative actions, fears, distrust and unbelief are what keep us from experiencing the fullness of God. Jesus taught us to use His most powerful and life positive force: LOVE. Love God and love those around us. There is no negativity in love. Love builds, repairs, grows and passes from one person to another. A friendship makes another and another. A smile generates another and another. An act of love brings calm and joy to a soul in pain. Positive energy is contagious.
Discard all the negativity of fear, anger, selfishness and unforgiveness, and embrace faith, goodness, peace and joy. Instead of complaining and envying others, give thanks to God for everything. Instead of finding faults, search for goodness. Start each day with a positive attitude knowing that God is with you despite the darkness around you.
Being positive is not something we can pursue in and of itself, because without God, it cannot be sustained. But trusting God and serving Him with our hearts makes us a positive presence in a negative world. The positive power of Jesus is what changes everything into goodness.
Examine your life. Examine your heart. Are your thoughts without hope or faith? Do you just react to negativity with more negativity? Search for bad feelings and attitudes and work to replace them with the positive Light of God. It can be a hard thing to do, but step-by-step, you can turn your heart around.
Jesus told us not to hide our light under a bushel, but put it up on a hill, because positive love and joy can only be spread when it shines.
Negativity cannot be avoided whether at work, family or church, but we can work to make all things more positive and beautiful. We have the choice whether to walk in the positive light of God or the negative cloud of the devil.
Choose to be non-judgmental and forgiving. Let go of pessimism and embrace hope. Look for the good in all situations instead of pointing out the bad. Rethink how you have been living and ask God to touch you with the Holy Spirit. Stop the onslaught of negativity coming at you. You can change everything around beginning today.
Choose the positive light of Jesus.
© 2009 Edrick
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