At this moment in my life I have no time for negativity. I have found that my witness does not work if I am constantly negative or snarky. This does not keep negativity from creeping in from time to time, but like fleeting thoughts during meditation, I try to acknowledge it and let it pass.
It seems that negativity has overtaken our culture. There seems to be nothing but bad news. Brokenness. Pain. Suffering.
Terrorist attacks, war, natural disasters, murders.
One glance at any news source paints a picture of a world that is in desperate need of some cheering up.
We look for anything to cheer us up for a few minutes. And then it’s over. And then we ridicule it and bury it in negativity.
There are entire television programs that revolve around making fun of popular videos and quasi-popular people. Tune in to one of these shows and you can laugh away your own pain and sadness at the expense of someone else.
This brings me to something I heard in the last few weeks that changes everything:
When interacting with another person just assume that they are doing the best they can.
If you meet someone who is different or other or “less than”, try to remind yourself that they are (most-likely) doing the best they can in their specific situation.
There have been times in my life that I look back on and wonder, “What in the world was I thinking?” I can’t know for sure what I was thinking, but I would venture a guess that I was doing the best that I could at that moment.
I just finished a great book by Jonathan Martin called Prototype. The premise of the book is that Jesus is the prototype for the perfect human, in part because he is the Son of God, but also because he never lost sight of his “belovedness”. When Jesus comes up out of the waters of baptism, God says, “This is my beloved.”
The thing is, God calls us all beloved. We just have a tendency to forget our own name.
The world is so negative and the focus, more and more, seems to be on “spinning” the truth.
We create new avatars for ourselves online. We make ourselves into someone that we are not, mostly because we have completely forgotten who we are, but here is the Truth that doesn’t need to be “spun”:
You are God’s beloved.
When you operate out of the knowledge that you are beloved by the Creator of the universe, in spite of your failings and missteps, there is nothing that the negativity of the culture can do to you. You have conquered the death that this world is trying to sell you.
This is the Good News:
You are loved. You are good. You are wanted.
When everything in the world pulls you toward negativity and shame, you can rest in the knowledge that you are beloved of God and there is nothing that anyone can do to change it.
If that doesn’t cheer you up, maybe this will help.