It has always struck me as curious when I run into a follower of Christ who has a negative attitude. We of all people should always be positive because of the hope in Jesus to which we cling so tightly. Indeed, as followers of Christ, we are called to hope (Ephesians 4:4). How is it then that so many Christians live their lives in a state of negativity, finding fault with everyone and reasons why every idea will fail? The answers may be as varied as the people who posses such a quality, but I believe the cure and the prevention is universal.
There is great truth to the statement that we become what we think about. If we focus on the negative aspects of what is happening around us we will, in time, become negative people. If we look upon the positive side of things we will, in the same way, become a positive person. It’s truly just a matter of mindset. In some ways I am tempted to believe that there should be no such thing as a Christian pessimist. While I don’t intend to imply that we should walk through life wearing rose colored glasses as we must be shrewd and perspicacious in our dealings with others, but we can choose to always believe the best and see the best in others and in every situation.
Another curious law is the fact that negative people tend to attract negative things into their lives; positive people tend to draw positive things to them. I had a friend who used to constantly tell me that the number 43 was the most common number in the world. He would say it over and over again. Guess what happened? Everywhere we went, we kept seeing the number 43. It was on signs, parking lots, radio, and television; it was everywhere! Does the number 43 really occur more often in nature than any other number? Of course not! The fact was I was now thinking about the number a lot, and so I was finding it everywhere. The same law applies in turn such that if we think negative thoughts, we will find negativity all around us. Think positively, and you will draw positive experiences to you. Hope is positive, and Jesus is the King of hope. Think about Jesus, and He will come near to you (James 4:8). How can you think of Him and put out negative thoughts into the world?
If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, you must practice the habit of capturing them as soon as they creep into your mind. Grab the thought and force yourself to find something positive in the situation. A great rule is to never permit yourself or any of your acquaintances to say something negative before they have said something positive in any given situation. In this way you will learn to be positive-first thinkers. Thinking positively is easily accomplished by looking at every situation as Christ would look at it. Take a step back and look again with love and empathy. How can you shine Christ’s love onto the scene rather than making it worse with some acidic comment?
Finally, I’ve noticed that negativity is often an excuse for fear. People are afraid of saying something positive because it might require something of them. For example, I’ve heard people criticize the relief efforts in the recent earthquakes. They say negative things like, “they are probably all dead already”, “they’ll never find anyone alive” or “what good will those two people from my church do amongst all that rubble?” Deep inside, I believe these people fear that if they don’t criticize the effort, they may be compelled to go themselves. And that would be uncomfortable; that would be inconvenient. Easier to throw water on someone else’s fire than to fan the flames of your own calling.
Don’t be a negative person; you have Christ within you. You will become what you think about, so think only of Christ and things of beauty (Philippians 4:8). Practice being positive-first people, and throwing out negative thoughts. Approach every situation with love and empathy. Above all, don’t quench the spirit of others because you are simply too afraid to do what they do. We are people of love and hope. There is no negativity in Christ. Live His love loudly.