We all know how gravity keeps us grounded on earth, right? That is definitely a good thing…although I can think of a few times I would have liked to be weightless. 😉
Well, negativity has a gravitational pull as well and it also keeps us grounded…in the past – failures, mistakes, abuse, bitterness, anger; anything to keep you from rising to your next level. The worst part is that not only can our gravitational pull keep us grounded, the pull from ourselves or others can also be very grounding.
Have you ever been in a room with a group of people where everyone has a positive outlook except for the one “Negative Nancy or Norman,” whom no matter what spin you put on something, they always come back with something a bit more negative than the last thing that came out of their mouth? It seems when you leave that person in a group for 15 minutes or more, eventually the rest of the group suddenly feels tired, dejected or starts finding negative things to say. Negativity spreads faster than the flu and has killed more hopes and dreams than a nuclear bomb going off in the midst of the group. As you leave, you feel as if you are dragging a 50 pound ball & chain behind as you head for the parking lot. If you’re not attentive to where that attitude came from, it can affect the rest of your evening and have a trickle down effect on those you come in contact with.
Like some people, I struggle with the difference between negative and realistic. Sometimes, life isn’t pretty and the things that can happen are hard to state positively…whether it be in your head or with what comes out of your mouth.
But, with that said, I do believe that everything that happens can have a positive affect on you or others around you, if you work through it and allow it to become a positive gravitational pull. Death isn’t fun and losing someone you love can really take any positive energy you have and toss it in the trash. However, maybe you are blessed that you will see them again in Heaven. Or maybe you don’t have that guarantee and it causes you to look at how you handled any witnessing opportunities that you may have had in that person’s life. It may be the catalyst that causes you to really break through any inhibitions you have about sharing the gospel…an incentive in showing someone the way to avoid an eternity of hell.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7 says, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”
Jesus draws them near; He changes their hearts but sometimes if you don’t speak up, they may never stop for that single moment and think about what happens when they no longer walk this earth.
Sometimes it is things that people say that cause you to make major adjustments in your living or thinking. People can say whatever they want to but it is up to you to take it and make it into a positive experience for yourself. Someone may call you fat; does that make you go eat more ice cream or start heading to the gym every day after work? Your perception of what they say, your reaction and your corresponding action determines whether or not it becomes a positive or a negative pull on your life.
I don’t know too many that can take criticism, run with it and make a positive change without that initial “What did you say to me?” response…that either pops in our minds or spits out of our mouths as we stare at them in disbelief. Obviously constructive criticism works a bit differently than off the cuff, “Ouch that hurts” stuff. Processing something that might have been hurtful takes a little time…even when we don’t really care what people think, we still want to be well-thought of.
Now generally we don’t think of what Jesus said in a negative context but I wonder what this man thought after this exchange with Jesus?
Matthew 19:16-22 “And, behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And He said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”
Here is a guy that thought he had it going on; let’s face it, it sounds like he had it going on better than a lot of born-again, Bible-believing Christians today. I can only speak for myself but even though I don’t go out and shoot someone because they did me wrong, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have anger or hatred (even momentary) in my heart.
Jesus raised the bar when He said, “But I say unto you…” numerous times in His Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 5). Before Jesus came to fulfill the law, the law was exactly was it sounds like…words. And, if you kept the letter of the law, then by the religious standards, you were golden. But then Jesus came and basically said (paraphrase mine), “Hey, if you can only keep your outside clean, then you are falling short. True righteousness starts in the heart.”
So, here’s this guy who wants eternal life like I think we all do, but, he is told that it will require more of him…more sacrifice, more humility, more servitude, and, LESS stuff. He went away sad because, well, he was well off in terms of worldly goods and my guess would be that it hurt to be told that all his “good works” were nothing without a change in his heart. Having stuff doesn’t stop you from going to Heaven but placing those things above Jesus sure does!
Do we know if this man had a change of heart? No but I think it bears thinking about because he could have. He perceived that what Jesus said was negative because it entailed something that he didn’t want to do when in all actuality, it was a suggestion, that if followed would positively affect the rest of his life and of those around him.
Some people like the “Negative Nancy” or “Negative Norman” may just be trying to spread their doom and gloom and bring you to the place they are wallowing in. But at the end of that hurt feeling it may be good to ask the question of yourself, “If you knew that Jesus allowed that conversation or comment for a reason, would you listen more closely?”
Till next time…faithwalkin’ 🙂