I don’t think anyone is a stranger to the negative vibe we seem to be getting in our country these days. I often shake my head when I hear yet another issue that has come up because of the new elections. Every pivotal time in history brings with it a lot of controversy. Good or bad, people are not real happy with change. It means we are going to need to adjust something and we have become comfy in the way things are. Lately, it seems, it makes people down right grouchy just at the thought that some things might just change now.
Regardless to how we feel about politics these days and the negativity, its a part of our struggle to find our way to becoming one nation again. Its like a married couple that struggles to understand one another. Our country is having “marital issues” in some respect. The negativity is a bit unsettling.
A positive outlook sure is a better way to handle things, we can all use a bit more positive attitude in this world. Where I want to go with this blog is further than that though. I want to talk a bit about the positive thinking movement that has infiltrated our Christian faith system. Positive is a great thing . The Bible tells us to encourage one another with spiritual songs, and hymns and sharing our faith. There is a confusion within this though, and it is NOT the Holy Spirit that is guiding it.
Iv’e come to be wary of the statement, “Don’t be all negative and walk around gloomy like your world is falling apart”, blah blah blah. Iv’e heard it over and over again. Honestly, when I am going through something hard the last thing I want to be is “negative”, but sometimes life happens and our human hearts will struggle. Jesus said we will have trials in this world and we are to be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. He wants us to “look up” and have faith. This is real different than forcing ourselves to be “positive” when life has become hard for us. We can’t do anything effective when we do it with our own will power.
Let’s take a another look at the character of Jesus. He had COMPASSION for the sick, the struggling, and the hurting. When the woman with the issue of blood struggled to reach the hem of His garment, He did not turn to her and say, “Don’t be so negative, but be positive and life will get better.” He said, “Woman, your faith has healed you”. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well, He did not tell her “Stop being all negative and your life will change”. He told her, “If you drink from me you will never thirst again”. Let me give you one more. When the woman caught in adultery was hunted down by those who wanted to stone her for her sin, Jesus did not say, “You caused this by your negative thinking”. He said to her accusers, “Those of you who are without sin, cast the first stone”.
The thing that rings throughout Jesus’ life is COMPASSION. He inspired our faith not our need to be positive. It is by faith we are saved and by faith we are healed. It is by faith our lives are changed and by faith we receive from Holy Spirit. Faith is stronger than positive thinking. Again, I am not against being positive, but when it is placed before compassion it just becomes a cold response. Would you tell someone who is hungry to go out and be positive or would you give him or her a meal? Compassion is what makes our nation and our world a better place. Faith is what makes us all stronger. We can be positive about one thing for sure; God loves a charitable heart. When we take the struggling into our hearts and be there for them we are being “the church”.
So you see, the answer to our negative dilemma is not more positive thinking, although being positive is great. The answer is compassion. Pray for our nation. Pray for those who struggle with hatred and confusion. Give of your faith, no matter how long it takes. This does not mean to be wrapped up in others negative outbursts. We don’t need that in our lives. But it can mean to be a more faithful example of prayer, love, generosity, and compassion. The angry outbursts are coming from those who are blinded. If they don’t want your compassion then there is no other choice but to move on, but on the other hand a compassionate look at things and a word of faith might just fall on good soil in their heart. If that happens then the demonstration of Jesus overcoming the world has been worked out in your life and through you.
Let’s take this to a more personal point. When a family member is really hurting and struggling, that is not the time to tell that person to stop being negative and look at life in a more positive way. Compassion and being charitable is the way to deal with a broken person. We all go through times in our lives that are hard. You might have no idea how much that person is hurting inside. Give faith, compassion, and be charitable. You will see the miracle of Jesus and His power through your giving.
Dear Lord, bring more compassion into this world. Help Your people to listen with an open heart and to carry Your presence to difficult and darkened situations. Help us each to discern another’s heart situation and help us all to carry faith, hope, love, and charity as our banner. In Jesus’ heart, amen!
Pastor Jenine Marie Howry
800-421-1765 for prayer