June 21, 2007

Positive and Negative

Let me open with a little confession...I can be very critical and negative. I try hard no to be, but it seems to run in my genetic code.

Last week I had something of an awakening. A person, whom I respect, said, "You tend to be very critical." I know this. I admit this. I try to work on this. But having this person say it made it more real to me somehow.

To be honest my training, and being a Christian, hasn't helped. I automatically tend to view things and ask, "What do I NOT like about this? What would I change? Is this right?" I look at everything as through a magnifying glass. These questions, while not necessarily bad tend to lead me down the road of picking apart all the bad characteristics. I don't mean to ignore the positive things, but it is easier to figure out what I am against.

We all do that, if we are honest. We are more willing to define ourselves by what we are against than what we are for. We find it easier to see the fault in other people than to see the faults in ourselves. And Lord help the person who tries to point out our flaws and faults to us.

Today I listened to an online message from pastor of a large and growing church. I found myself unable to concentrate on what he was saying because I disagree with the premise and theology of his sermon. I won't say that it is damnable; I just didn't agree.

Then it hit me between the eyes like a 2x4...I was the one with the problem. I wasn't even hearing the positive things much less the voice of God through him because I was busy picking apart what was wrong and what I wouldn't do. So I forced myself to make a list of all the positive things I saw and heard and to think of nothing but the positive things. I made a list of 6-7 things and found my whole demeanor changing.

I think it is a good exercise...to force myself to make a list of all the positive things before I list any of the bad, if I list the bad at all. Because really, I am only responsible for me. I cannot make someone else change their stance. Only God can change a person. I can, however, learn from them and find the value in what they are saying, and then apply that to my own life.

When has God smacked you upside the head to get you to listen?


  1. Eric,
    Even though Soloman was not the only author of the book of Proverbs, wrote in Chapters 2-4, about wisdom; 3:5 states "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;others included from highlighted verses in my bible are;Proverbs 2:10 and 2:12, 4:7,13,23 and 21.

  2. Hi Eric,

    Of course, I'm exactly the same. I always remember something that happened years ago, though, to help me from the brink of no-return. I was at a Carman concert. Now, I probably would not attend one today, but still, I was there because my girlfriend (now wife) and I set a date to go. I was pretty negative about some of the theology I heard. However, I eventually felt a "check" in the way I was thinking/feeling. Yes, it was subjective, but I felt as though it wasn't about having all the "right answers"--there was something, or rather, Someone, good being worshipped in the midst of this "low theology".

    My theology is still evolving, and I'm still, unfortunately pessimistic, and yet, hope lives on, because I trust God to know what He's doing in people's lives more than I trust a theological construct. As long as it is not out of bounds (e.g.--if one were to say orgies were character building...)!