Summary: This sermon deals with negativity in the Christian’s life. There are three affects that negativity has on a person.
How to Deal with Negativity
This morning I want to talk with you about a destructive behavior that is not mentioned much in churches. I’m not going to talk about lying, stealing, or cheating. What I do want to talk about is negativity. The first scripture I’ll be looking at is Proverbs 10 verses 11 and twelve.
“The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked. Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.” Proverbs 10:11
Negativity is human nature – actually it is human fallen nature. Do you know where the first negative complaint is found in the Bible? It is found in found in Genesis chapter 3 verse 12. “And the man said,’ the woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.’” I can almost hear it – “Lord it’s your fault. If you hadn’t given me this woman – I wouldn’t be in this fix.”
Because of our fallen nature - negativity comes naturally. How many of you had to teach your children to be negative? We tend to believe in the worst. It is easy to talk ourselves out of something by using negativity. Example – you want to try something new, what do you start thinking – well that’s not going to work – there’s not enough time – no one is going to like it. We tend to emphasize the negative.
In James chapter 3 he is talking about the use of the mouth and let’s see what it says. “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the
whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and better from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.”
What this tells me is that we have a choice about whether we have a mouth that is either negative or a mouth that is positive. Let me give you three facts about negativity.
1. Negativity reflects what is going on inside a person.
“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.” Pr. 10:11
Matthew 12: 33-37 says, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
*Simple Test: If you want to know the condition of your heart – listen to what is coming out of your mouth.
2. Negativity justifies itself.
“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits.” Proverbs 16:2
Just because something looks right to you – does not mean it is right.
If you put on rose colored glasses everything will look rosy. If you put on dark glasses everything will look dark. What you see is a product of your eyes. All of us can have a distorted view of the world. It all depends on what you are looking through.
How many times I have heard these statements: “I have a right to be this way – look at what has happened to me.” “Nobody likes me. I have no friends.” “You always act this way. You’re never going to change.” Etc.
Let me ask you a simple question: Is the glass half empty or half full? Are you looking at the problems or the possibilities? Which ever way you look at the glass you have not changed the level of it one bit. But your perspective of it has.
There is a lyric that I love on one of the CDs I listen to it goes like this.