You probably know somebody like this—that person who’s negative about just about everything. It’s almost as if this brother or sister would see something bad even if God rained down His blessings. There are multiple reasons for this attitude (including these I posted two years ago), but I also think it’s really hard to change this attitude, whether it’s ours or someone else’s. Here’s why:
- Most negative people don’t see themselves as negative. I’ve never met a negative person who admits that’s his or her default response. Sometimes, in fact, negative people point out that attitude in others without ever seeing it in themselves.
- Negative people can always find something to be negative about. None of us is perfect. Not one of our churches is perfect. No denomination is perfect. All of us mess up stuff—so negative people can always find ammunition for their complaints.
- Negative people can almost always find cohorts. That is to say, one negative person almost naturally gravitates toward others who are bent in the same direction. They begin to feed off each other, which only entrenches their attitude more.
- Some negative people grew up in negative families. That truth doesn’t give them permission to follow the pattern, but it does help explain their actions. They’re continually negative because that’s all they’ve ever seen or known—and changing that pattern is tough when it’s part of your story.
- Many negative people find their value in being “righteous warriors.” In fact, they often see themselves not as negative, but as the only ones who recognize reality and call it what it is. They view themselves as only being truthful when others choose not to—so why should they change?
- Negativity breeds negativity. The negative person usually sees only negative in others . . . which gets really tiresome and draining . . . which then causes others to avoid that negative person . . . who then turns even more negative toward them. The cycle can seemingly be unending.
- The enemy we face always wants to rob us of our joy. When believers are only negative, few non-believers want any part of their faith. The joy God gives us is a significant part of our Christian witness—so Satan and his forces relentlessly aim their arrows at that joy. The enemy does not give up easily.
So, what do we do about this issue?
- Ask God to show you if you’re a negative person.
- Ask others who know you well if you’re negative.
- Don’t “bow up” and defend yourself if you learn something you didn’t want to know.
- If you need to do so, confess your attitude and commit to overcoming it.
- Every day, ask God to help you see His hand of blessing in your life more than you see the negatives.