All of us at sometime or another will encounter an individual and/or situation that just seems to breed negativity. If you’ve already come across this, have you ever felt this way:
“I feel surrounded by some who seek and desire lots of change, but are so frustrated, they discuss with anger, disrespect, and hostility. I will admit and confess that I have played a role in the negativity. At times, I have allowed my frustration to build up rather than bring it to those who would listen with an open heart. Feeling extremely frustrated and ‘lost’ in who I am. I want to be an individual who seeks the right things. If I’ve been speaking negatively, I confess at this very moment that I am wrong. In my heart, and outwardly through my life, I want to exemplify positivity and no longer participate and encourage those around me in negative thought or attitude.”
Ok, so maybe you haven’t said those words exactly, but I have. In fact, those are my words (I had written a four page “letter” in an effort to express how I was feeling). There was a time in my life when I felt completely surrounded by negativity. I had allowed it to consume me and I began to do the very thing that was completely against my personality and nature. I started to conform in speech and action. I learned first hand how destructive this type of environment can be. In my situation, I chose not to speak up against the negativity. I can tell you to this day, as I write this right now, it’s one of the greatest things that I regret.
Whether in your marriage, family, church, or place of work, there may be some that only want to do things their way. If it’s not to their liking, they assume a “Wyatt Earp” mentality and proclaim to everyone in their path, “You tell ’em I’m coming, and hell’s coming with me. You hear?! Hell’s coming with me!!” The idea of compromise in life has taken a back seat. It seems that few want to humble themselves and work together to achieve their ultimate desire. Rather, the mentality is winner take all…at all costs. This is where the negativity comes in. People will start to complain, whine, cry, get angry, call names, etc. They’ll even go as far as “recruiting” to get others on their side. Unfortunately, some will do this until they get their way, because those in authority would rather not deal with the negativity. Everyone is going to have their own vision and/or mission statement for their marriage, family, or business. If done for their respective position in life, so be it, as long as it falls in line and under the vision for their community in which they desire to see change. If done for the purpose of creating an environment that serves their own interests as opposed to the interests of others, this is destructive. They want separation. Their talk is destructive and serves no purpose but their own desires and plans.
In another portion of my letter, I included the following sentiments:
“Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We—even we here—hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free—honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just—a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.” ~ Abraham Lincoln (1862)
I fully believe we are in the midst of a “fiery trial”. There is division, and there are opinions as to how we solve our issues. Lincoln’s purpose in preserving the Union was made very clear. But the important factor was that he knew what needed to be done, and did it. I have an opinion as to why we’ve been feeling so much negativity. There is a quote from the movie ‘Remember the Titans’ that has always stuck with me ever since I watched the movie. In a particular scene, the two captains, Gerry and Julius are talking after practice. The black and white players are not getting along, and Julius sums it up in one statement, “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.” I fully believe, in my own words, what determines the mood of the masses, can be found in the heart of the leadership.
Leadership is so crucial in situations where negativity is infecting the “masses”. In the book of 2 Samuel, King David’s definition of leadership can be extremely beneficial for anyone to “destroy” the infectious disease of negativity.
“The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.” (2 Samuel 23:3-4, ESV)
What a fantastic vision of leadership! Have we been just? Have we been fair, considering the “masses” as we move forward? If the current leader in your marriage, family, or place of work is not adhering to this fundamental concept, they’re not doing their job. Their “morning light” needs to cover all on whom it shines. Your wives, children, and co-workers need to look at their leader as one looks at the morning sunrise. There are times when we stand in awe of the light coming up over the mountain or beaming through the clouds, that it stops us in our tracks to simply “take it in”. If the light of leadership is not inspiring, negativity will reign. What does a sunless sky do to your attitude?
So, if you’re prone to speak negativity, consider the following:
“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”…”And above all things have fervent love for one another, ‘for love covers a multitude of sins.’ Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” ~ 1 Peter 4:1-2, 8-9
“My lips will not speak wickedness, Nor my tongue utter deceit.” ~ Job 27:4
“The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice.” ~ Psalm 37:30
“For He who would love life and see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.” ~ 1 Peter 3:10-11