Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Attitude That Sucks...

I had begun a post a few days back, but then deleted it, concerned that some people might assume that I was referring to them, that's if anyone actually reads this blog.  In actual fact, anyone could think that this topic is about them, as it affects all of us, though perhaps some people struggle more than others.

After talking with a friend this morning, I realized that it is not just I, who recognize the draining if not devastating affects of people's attitudes and words.  So I decided to complete my previous post.  Should you find yourself offended, I suggest that it's perhaps  a symptom of conviction and an area you might choose to ask God to help you work on.

What I am referring to, are those people who are constantly negative, always first to find a problem with an idea or opinion and not in the constructive way. Those people who point out the negative in others, making slights against them in order to elevate themselves. The person who constantly complains.  The person who cuts others down in subtle, sarcastic and overt ways.  It has been my experience that often times, those people know little of what they speak of.  While we can all fall into those ruts, and are each guilty of these attitudes and remarks at times, if it becomes a consistent part of who we are, we become a detriment to our own spiritual and physical health and drain the life out of others. "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones" ~Proverbs 17:22

Philippians 2:4 says that "Our attitudes should be the same as that of Christ Jesus", negativity, non-constructive criticism, judgment, name-calling, harshness and ignorant sarcasm are not indicative of the heart of Jesus.  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self-Control however are [Galatians 5:22].  As we grow in these gifts, our negative attitudes will diminish and we will begin to reflect the light of Christ that draws others to Him rather than deters. Jesus said, "The things that come out of your mouth come from your heart." ~Matthew 15:18

I am increasingly aware of the draining affect of people's attitudes and negative comments.  As a result I am more attuned of my words and attitudes. I have found that there is nothing more exhausting in my life than being around people with negative attitudes.  It sucks the life right out of me. “Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.” ~Proverbs 12:18.  On the contrary, people who are encouraging, always ready with a kind and sincere word on their lips, lift my spirits, and strengthen my resolve. “Kind words are like honey—enjoyable and healthful.” ~Proverbs 16:24 Case and point - there is a woman of meager means, who is probably not considered  wise by worldly standards, and more often than not is simply overlooked.  She is however, one of the most sincere, positive and encouraging people I have met.  A real blessing to me. Sometimes I feel as though God Himself is encouraging me through her.  I want to be that kind of person for others. I am uber blessed to have a number of cheerful, positive and encouraging people in my life, I am not sure I would survive without them, let alone thrive.

If we stay close enough to people of either disposition we will find our attitudes changing.  We become like those we acquaint ourselves with.  If we acquaint ourselves first with Christ and those who seek to grow in His likeness, then we too will grow in the attitude of Christ and will have the strength to stand, and even influence those with negative attitudes. The alternative is to be contaminated by a negative attitude and the wisdom of Proverbs warns us that we "will have to live with the consequences of everything [we] say" [18:20]

Not wanting to risk bad company ruining good manners, I have decided to make a conscious effort to surround myself with people who are filled with sincere enthusiasm, positivity, and a good sense of humour. I am also committed to continually growing in those areas myself.  This does not mean that I am going to avoid people who are hurting or going threw difficult times, indeed I want to be that positive person for them, one who will help to influence their spirit to joy.  However my closest acquaintances and friends will always be those who strive to uplift and not tear down. Those who attempt in earnest to reflect the heart of Christ, each of us holding one another accountable, iron sharpening iron.

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