As we slog through the election season, the constant barrage of negativity beats me down.
And it’s contagious.
I’ve been reading about Catherine Marshall (author of Christy), and she related a story of when God told her to fast from criticism for one day. Her instructions? No criticizing anybody about anything. I won’t spoil it by telling her ending, but it challenged me to pursue a similar fast for Lent.
I’m glad God doesn’t grade Lent, because I was terribly inconsistent, but what happened was three-fold:
- I became aware of my own critical spirit.
- I became aware of how prevalent criticism and negativity are—even in my own house.
- I began to learn how to battle it.
Ephesians 4:29-32 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Here are a few tips to detox the air pollution of negativity:
Pause for a moment on the sentence above that says “get rid of.” Often bitterness, anger, or hurt feelings drive my own criticism and negativity. I have to filter them out first. Sometimes this means recognizing the incident and choosing to move past it.
Isaiah 53:7 describes Jesus’ response to criticism and judgment.
“He was oppressed and afflicted, Yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to slaughter, And as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
Paul is more straightforward in Ephesians, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.”
Silence can be golden. Sometimes saying nothing is the best thing I can do. My husband remarked one time how quiet I am. I told him I’m quiet for a reason. If the thoughts I’m fighting in my head came out of my mouth, it would be bad. Very bad. Often my silence means I’m taking negative thoughts captive (2 Cor. 10:5).
Increase air purity by adding some affirmation. We all know warm, loving people who make us feel valued and cherished. Like pure oxygen, affirmation gives us a boost. Consider those around you who could use a breath of fresh air, and look for ways to encourage them. What needs do they have? What will add value?
One more thing. Did you notice the effect negativity has on God? It grieves Him, and that’s reason enough to clear the air.
What’s the negativity level in your environment?
Clean healthy air?
A little smoggy?
I can’t breathe.
Are you adding smog or acting as a filter?
How will you clear the air today?
Detox the air pollution of negativity. Click to tweet.
Filter out any bitterness, anger, or hurt feelings. Click to tweet.
Often my silence means I’m taking negative thoughts captive. Click to tweet.
Increase air purity by adding some affirmation. Click to tweet.
Check the air quality of your environment. Click to tweet.