Negative, negative, negative.
I held my computer in my lap as I read the words. It was another in a series of negative posts about faith — from those who follow Jesus. Some honest posts that said how discouraged they were with faith and people. Some flippant. Some that seem to be written just to provoke controversy or to gain a few more likes.
Can I be vulnerable with you here? It’s discouraging to read the negative about this beautiful gift of faith. We need freedom to share what’s on our heart or to work through the hard places with each other, but in this share-everything-about-anything culture, I think we’ve forgotten that people who don’t know Jesus are listening.
I also wonder when we stopped seeing the good.
It’s there, if we’ll look for it.
In the book Awakening, Matt Brown says,
We lose influence when we spend all of our time preaching against the bad in culture. We gain influence when we talk about the good we have in Christ.
Brown isn’t talking about an unbelieving culture in this statement, but our faith culture.
It’s easy to point out how people tangle faith with things that don’t resemble Christ, or get tangled ourselves in conversations that spiral downward as we lose focus of why we ran into the arms of Christ in the first place.
Again, I don’t ever want to stifle those important conversations, but what about the good?
It’s there, right in front of us.
It’s taking place in that church down the street where people are being nurtured and discipled. It’s happening in that nonprofit where a family has sacrificed their financial stability to give others a chance. It’s across the world, and across the street, and it’s just as easy to find as the negative.
What if we restarted the conversation?
We have a Heavenly Father willing to work through the hard places with us. They matter to him because we matter to him. The Holy Spirit lives in us, so we have access to wisdom and insight.
The day that I read one more negative, I almost got sucked in. It was discouraging. I needed to give myself permission to look for the good. To take the myopic glasses off and see beyond the negative.
I thought of my friend, Sharon, who said she’d pray for me and my family, and she followed through. She’s a prayer warrior and literally called out our name every single day.
I thought about the moment when I got the call that I had a small melanoma on my shoulder (cancer diagnosis #3 in my family in as many months) and another friend pulled out anointing oil and prayed for me on the spot. (I love it that I have a friend that packs “heat” in her purse.)
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I thought about laughter around the table at Bible study as we ate cheeseburgers and baked beans and dug into the Word together.
Looking for the good allowed me to put down the distractions (yep, those conversations on social media that were twisting my insides) and feel His presence close.
So, so good.
In this Summer of Permission, I long for us to give ourselves permission to look for the good in our faith. And then to talk about it so the world can hear, because if we — those who claim to be transformed by his love — aren’t talking about it, then why in the world would they want anything to do with it. Let’s talk about a Savior who rescued us and waits to love any who comes to him. Let’s seek wisdom, counsel, and truth together — because it’s available to us. Let’s point out the believers making a difference — some who are giving their lives for their faith, and others who have devoted their life to change and transformation.
Let’s tell our stories. How once we were lost, and then we were found.
When we do this, the conversation is more balanced. It leaves room for the conversations we need to have as we work through the negative, but it never overshadows the goodness of God.
Awaken our heart, Father, to the broader picture. To you. To your goodness. To the good that people are doing all over the world (maybe right in front of us), unsung, unnoticed, and their stories a little bit lost in the negative. Our faith in you is life changing and worth talking about. Help us to work through the negative, with your help because that’s life and people, but when we see negative may we become the good in your name.
Will you join in a challenge?
I felt challenged to look for the good in my faith this week, and it’s something I’ll continue. Will you join me in that challenge?
What if we looked for the good for the rest of the week.
Share the good that someone is doing or has done for you in the name of Christ. Tell your story. Highlight someone who is making a difference. Tell a friend. Post it on FB or Instagram or Twitter. Hashtag it #faithisgood. We’ll look for those hashtags and share the good news together. Let’s do this, okay? ~ Suzie
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