Not long ago someone told me about her pastor’s sermons, almost all of which scolded his listeners for being “so negative” and urged them to be “more positive.” That led me to post a question about the topic on Facebook that led to an excellent discussion.

When I posted my question, I wanted to be spurred in my own thinking by my friends, and I wanted to hear the experiences of others. Mostly I wanted to think Biblically about discerning good from evil, warning others about evil, asking for help regarding evil, grieving evil, and other necessary kinds of speech that could be interpreted as “critical” or “negative.”

Note: The quotations that I use in this blog post are from the comments in that Facebook post, some of them edited for brevity or clarity.

Does the Word of God caution us to “avoid those who are negative”?

No. The Bible doesn’t talk about “positivity” or “negativity” at all.

Because it doesn’t, we can’t go to the Bible to find out what the terms mean. This is a big problem, as you can imagine, especially when pastors are talking about “negativity” in their sermons.

Does “positivity” mean saying only things that make us think of rainbows and fluffy bunnies? Does being “positive” mean saying only pleasant  things about everyone and only pleasant things about my own life condition?

Are you talking about like…when someone says, “So how are you doing?” and I respond (in a sort of upbeat tone of voice), “As good as can be expected.”  And I hear back, “That’s all?” “Yep, how are you doing?” “Blessed better than I deserve.”

How can we get away from the dishonesty of saying, “Great!” and not feel slapped in the face when we try to be honest…but not too negative?

Does “negativity” mean saying things that trouble someone’s rosy paradigm of the world we live in?

Jesus called the Pharisees a brood of vipers. (#negativity! )

Does “negativity,” alternatively, mean pointing a finger at someone when you know you have three fingers pointing back at yourself?








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