When we take out the kitchen trash at our house we get the bathroom trash, John’s office, and anything else that needs taking out. I was thinking of that this morning as I had my Quiet Time.
If I forget Who loves me I will live in contact with the one who hates me–in the dumpster with the trash. If I focus on what’s wrong I will be blind to what’s real and right and true. If I harbor (shelter and hold in my arms and heart) unforgiveness I will have no peace. When, through disobedience and ignorance (“my people perish for lack of knowledge”) I go my own way, I fail. Every single time.
It’s all trash and I choose to take it out, all day every day. It’s not going to be in my house.
If Henri Nouwen is correct in today’s e-mailed deovtional, and he is when he states,”Joy and Resentment Cannot Coexist” and if it’s also true, and it is, that “the joy of the Lord” is our strength. then unforgivness (resentment) makes us weak.
In my current quest for positivity, my Zero For Six adventure against negativity, I am aiming for joy, for strengh. Indeed I am aiming for the acquisition of the very joy of the Lord God Himself!
How is this going? I’m stumbling here and there, and seeking my way in communicating with those who, it seems, would rather be weak. It also seems as though some people prefer resentment to joy. That is entirely their business, of course, but does that mean they have a right to inflict their negativity on me? No.
The trick is in rejecting the negative person’s negativity, but not rejecting the person. Negative people have already rejected themselves, the Word of God, perhaps even God, and they expect further rejection. This is where it is helpful to say something like, “I’m doing a Zero For Six adventure of no negativity for six months! Wanna join me?”
It is also helpful to saturate that person in prayer, whereby we get perspective on their preciousness to God. This helps counter our perspective on their aggravation to us. We need a change of heart, or at least I do. Otherwise, I will not overcome evil with good. Rather, bad company will corrupt me.
Negativity is contagious, but there is a vaccine, a sure innoculation. It’s the Mighty One–Jesus. The only time I feel those sick symptoms of negativity, that debilitating weakening of frustration, is when I hold on to an offense. I am actually choosing Death, rather than God’s mandated choice–Life. I am choosing to fearfully focus on and glorify what Satan’s crowd is up to.
We can be less than worms with fear and negativity, or more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.
“You show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy…” PSALM 16:11 (NRSV)