I have a confession.
I am a pessimist.
I am a pessimist with anxiety issues.
I am not just the glass is half empty but I am the glass is half empty and there is a water shortage and what if we run out of clean water and then we will all have to start carrying water from streams and running it through homemade filtration systems made from panty hose and water bottles.
Oh, you already knew that? Glad we sorted that out. I have to make a conscious decision every day (and sometimes several times a day!) to look for the best in all situations. There are several ways I have learned to deal with negativity. I have recently been reading in Galatians 6
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.
6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (ESV)
1. Be Bold
Verse one encourages Christians to “restore him a spirit of gentleness” anyone who is caught in sin. Keyword here being gentleness! And let’s not forget the second part of that verse – KEEP WATCH ON YOURSELF, LEST YOU TOO BE TEMPTED. Gossip and negativity go hand in hand and it is so easy to get caught up in it. It starts out as one small question like, “I wonder where so and so has been?”. This question may start out as innocent but you or someone else might answer, “Well I heard they were doing this or that with so and so”.
This is your chance to BE BOLD. You have several choices here, you can engage in the conversation about so and so which usually spirals downward into a mindless dribble of all the gossip you have heard about your mutual friends until no one has anything nice left to say OR you can stop it.
Let me tell you, I am guilty as the next southern belle for having a love affair with gossip. My name is Elizabeth and I like to gossip but lately I have felt convicted about it. When someone slides up close to you to tell you something that is none of your business, I want you to flip open to Galatians and say, “wait just a minute! I have to keep watch on myself or I am going to be tempted to participate in this slander” and if it is me scooting up next to you, can you restore me with gentleness?
Next time someone is being negative around you, be bold and ask them why, there might be something else going on they might need to talk about with you. They might just need to be gently restored to the spirit with some scripture, kind words, or advice (or all three!).