Recently, an acquaintance of mine had one of her videos go viral on social media.  After viewing the video, I read a few of the comments that were written.  The initial posted comments were all very positive.  However, just a few comments down, one viewer shared what they thought was wrong with the video.  This one comment seemed to bring down a deluge of negativity.  What had been a congenial thread quickly turned into critique after critique from people who were actively seeking to find something wrong. I was initially surprised by how people could waste so much of their time trying to find fault in something.  Initial surprise then morphed into sympathy; it must be incredibly miserable being so focused on the negative that you miss out on everything else.  How great it would have been to stop there atop my little step stool of judgement, but my sympathy was then transformed into conviction.  I too have times when I allow critical attitudes to blind me to the many blessings God so graciously gives.

Many things have seemingly gone wrong in 2020.  Some things were big, some things were small, and some things were just unplanned.  I certainly did not envision overseeing online school for a teenager and toddler while my husband and I worked from home.  It is so easy to focus on the negatives, such as missed experiences, navigating all the different online learning apps and platforms, the unsuccessful hunt for the elusive quiet space to work, or the dreaded loss of Wi-Fi.  However, if my focus is on complaints, I am robbed of the joy of watching my toddler dance unabashedly during a quick break, experiencing the excitement of my teenager as he works on his latest engineering project, or utilizing this gifted time to instill God’s truths into these two young lives.  When I start focusing on all the things that are going wrong, I miss what is right.

Just like a critical comment on a thread, the negativity often multiplies.  Critical attitudes often gain momentum and destructively plow through the rest of the day, or worse yet, they begin to impact others.  Have you ever been around someone who is constantly focused on the negative?  It is as if they manage to spring a slow leak in whatever group they are inhabiting.  As God’s people we are called to build each other up and be salt and light, not nails in a tire.

Until Christ comes again, there will always be things that are wrong.  As church leaders and members, there will be plenty of things to complain about in upcoming days.  Maybe activities are not resuming as fast as you would like or maybe you are having to abide by new guidelines, but let’s not spread negativity.  Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, we can focus on the Redeemer.  Psalm 7:17 states, “I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.”  We can have gratitude and praise Him regardless of our circumstances.  His righteousness, goodness, and love are unchanging.

Yes, we live in a fallen world, but as sons and daughters of God we also live as part of His Kingdom.  We do not ignore or pretend wrong does not happen, but instead of complaining, we can look for the wonderful ways He is continuously at work and calling us to join Him.  It can be tempting to get caught up in cycles of critical attitudes, but then we miss out on seeing the ways He is redeeming, blessing, sanctifying and making anew.  Let’s live as part of His Kingdom.

By: Chelsie Hoard