I know I have written on this topic several times before. For some reason it keeps coming up. This time it’s because I have read some books by authors in the church. I’m not going to name drop because I’m not going to stoop down to that level. After reading about three hundred pages into a book I have to say that I was genuinely discouraged. Why? Because it seems that these people only know how to write negative things about people!
We live in a very negative world. A quick glance at the news will show you that. We’ve got a tripled crippled country in Japan after the earthquake, tsunami, and now the nuclear reactor melting down. We have a new front on the war on terror in Libya. American soldiers die every day, and not to mention going to the gas pump requires you to take out a loan! There are several shootings in Cincinnati daily, murders, serial killers, we are on the brink of a depression, and we are all struggling.
In our time, its extremely easy to focus on the negative. When we do that we get “Eyore” (from Winnie the Pooh) syndrome. We mope around going “ohhhh bother.” Woe is me! We throw these extravagant pity parties for ourselves and invest so much time in being negative that it soon begins to affect us spiritually, as well as physically.
This is a bad problem in the church. Not only are we living in the world, but we are called to live above it. Most days, however, we don’t even feel like getting out of bed! So we serve God in His church and are taught negative messages with negative applications, and before you know it, we have become the negative Christian stereotype that the world so loves to label us as.
When this kind of negativity begins to pollute the “water of life” we begin to drink it in. It begins to poison our preaching, our teaching, and our attitudes. Then we are left with bad attitudes towards each other and to everybody else. We begin to form a clique that gives us a sectarian spirit. We begin to isolate ourselves from the world, and begin tearing apart one another. That is the sad reality that I woke me up while reading this book.
The challenge I have to you is this: let’s find something positive to say about the church. Let’s find something positive to say about our brothers and sisters. Sure, we may not agree on everything or do everything the same, but that doesn’t mean we automatically put them on a black list and critique them to death. Remember, Paul writes:
“The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind” (Rom. 14:3-5, NIV).
So how will you change your thinking? Maybe you could encourage the elders instead of criticizing. Maybe you can serve a deacon. Maybe tell Bill how his sermon helped you. I guarantee that you will realize that there is some good left in the world that has been marred from Eden’s curse, and its worth mentioning. Just something to think about.