I have been thinking a lot about the ways that Satan likes to fake us out with stuff that may contain a degree of truth within it, but if taken literally, is quite the big lie.
He IS a big, fat liar, after all. And he’s no dummy.
If I were evil through and through, I would do my best to play games with others’ hearts and minds the very same way: Find that which appeals to the senses or feelings, that which is layered with what seems like beauty or good, and twist it so as to pierce the heart and make those I wish to conquer think I actually have their best interest at heart.
I would choose to divide people.
Check it out: These are just a few of the “positive quotes” that I have seen out there in our world lately. Really look at these in the context of the supposed blanket truth they claim to be sharing with us. Can you honestly apply these to every situation you might ever encounter? To your husband, let’s say. Or your child? How about someone you really, really love who is going through an immense struggle, sickness, trial, or otherwise hard time?
- “Surround yourself only with people who will lift you higher.”
- “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything or anyone that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.”
- “Let go of those who bring you down and surround yourself with only those who bring out the best in you.”
- “Choose people who lift you up.”
- “Don’t expect to see positive changes in your life if you surround yourself with negative people.”
- “I don’t have an attitude problem…You have a problem with my attitude and that’s not my problem.”
Some may say “Well, Annie…you are taking these out of context.”
I have little choice but to reply…”Most of the time they are only given in a blanket context, friends. When these things tend to be shared out, they are not explained in any other “context” than stand-alones…all by themselves. They are shared as blanket truths.They are professed as our guiding light.”
Maybe they aren’t statements that were really ever intended to be used to apply to every situation; I’ll give it that much. Maybe the original creator of such statements truly meant for them to be shared or applied in our lives for certain things, people, or situations. But I must say, I am disturbed at the astronomical increase in frequency I am seeing quotes like this of late. I am disturbed about the pervasive adaptation in behaviors to these types of mantras. Things like loyalty, servanthood, empathy, and selflessness.
Yah. Those kind of things.
Life is not all about us and our own little feelings! I have to say it, and if I offend anyone who may be reading this today, please hear my heart on this one.
I get that we need to try not to be constantly placing ourselves in situations that are negative with no hope for fruit from sticking with it in sight. There are times we are to “dust off our feet” as Christians, and move on to share Jesus with another group of folks who are actually somewhat receptive. I get that. Context. ‘Nuff said there.
But when I read these types of quotes and see them infiltrating our entire culture every which way I turn, all I can think about is what Jesus might say about it all. What might He think about the way we apply these things in our culture, our schools, our workplace, our families? What might Jesus think?
Did Jesus Christ surround Himself with only those who lifted HIM up?
No….in fact, he came down to earth – our God and King – and lowered Himself to walk amongst us in a sin-ridden and imperfect world. He came and sacrified Himself. For US.
Did Christ only hang out with those who would make Him feel better about Himself, motivate Him because they made Him feel good, or lay at His feet in worship and adoration all the time?
No…in fact, He hung out with lepers, sinners, tax collectors, and utterly imperfect and flawed people who needed love – who needed lifting up themselves. He was nailed to a cross so as to offer us the chance to be lifted up and be able to live with Him for all eternity one day!
Did Christ teach us that we are placed on this earth to be served, adored, loved, and protected from all that might seem negative or feel less than good?
No…He spoke about taking up our cross, loving our enemies, and that no servant is greater than His master. If He gave His life for us, why should we only surround ourselves with those people or things that make us feel like Kings and Queens?
I think it’s good to spread positivity and good cheer. I think it’s crucial that we try our best not to bring others down; in fact, to lift them up and edify them. But for this girl, I pray every single day that if someone in my world is sad, sick, downtrodden, grief stricken, filled with frustration, bitterness, or even hatred comes my way, that instead of cutting them out of my life because they aren’t lifting ME up, that Jesus Christ would give me the strength and grace to be there for them. Even when I don’t like it.
By the way: I don’t do a very good job when I try to do this in my own power. Just sayin’. This girl needs God’s grace. This one needs His supernatural and divine intervention to love even a little like He does.
That is what I call true positivity: Being that light to others – all others. Those who want to be uplifted, and those who resist such things, but have holes in their hearts that need to be filled? Those folks need the real stuff. Not the feel-good mantras. Those folks are the ones who are being left in the dust when they need someone to come alongside of them and love them in the face of what they are dealing with that is by no means pretty or “positive” by this crazy world’s standards.
Most especially, the people in this world who think they don’t want or need love, care, and support may just be the very ones who need it the most. I think we should fight for them.
Just like Jesus fights for US.
I’m so glad that Jesus loved us “while we were still sinners” aren’t you? He even gave His life for us – while we spat upon him and mocked Him to the very end. That’s some serious “negativity” right there, friends; nailing the Savior of the world to a cross to die a gruesome death. Spitting in His face while doing it. Turning our backs on Him after all that He has done for us.
His grace in the face of that ugly and evil is what is truly positive, if you ask me!
His love for us in spite of our failures is true “positivity”. It’s not a false negative, or a false positive, by any stretch of the imagination. It is real. It is love. It is truth.
It is Christ.
My prayer today is that we guard our hearts from prettied-up little lies the enemy tries to tell us. That we will love BIG, especially when it’s hard. That we will have the wisdom that comes only from the Lord, His grace and the discernment to see the truth through the ugly that masquerades itself as real beauty.
Love – the true kind? It’s the kind that isn’t often very easy to give.
Let’s be the real kind of positive, friends. Just as Jesus Himself is for us.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Let Jesus, and only Jesus hold the key!