by Pastor Bob Myers
I believe Jesus is known best by what He is for, not what He is against.
Positivity is always the fullest expression of any value. If you prohibit hate, it’s not as strong as commanding love. If you prohibit stealing, it doesn’t legislate generosity. The best way bank tellers are trained to recognize counterfeit bills is to be intimately acquainted with the authentic ones.
One time, Jesus’ disciples wanted to stop someone because they were doing good but were not part of their tribe, although they ministered in Jesus’ name: Luke 9:49-50 John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”
Don’t criticize people who aren’t part of your part of Christianity for not toeing the line to what you’ve come to believe. This doesn’t mean you love your doctrine less. It means you have a peaceful settled confidence and contentment.
The great preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “Bitter-spirited Christians may know a great deal, but they are immature. Those who are quick to censure may be very acute in judgment, but they are as yet very immature in heart.”
Pick your battles. Major on the majors. 1 Timothy 1 warns against spending our time in foolish controversies. While we may at times be called to contend for the faith, that means we contend for the major truths of the faith. That means we focus on the big-ticket items.
Some people take to themselves the role of being doctrinal watchdogs, yapping away at every author, singer, even poet who doesn't toe the line. To always be barking against error will make you boring and predictable. To constantly be refuting error repels good people from the beauty of the gospel. Instead of defending the gospel, the person who harps on disproportionate criticism and negativity might even push some people off of the proverbial slippery slope.
Don’t try to hold any non-believer accountable to what they never agreed to live out. Let them off the hook from things that you have to be a believer to embrace and find valid.
Discern where people are. Ask questions. The three magic words that will make you a fascinating conversationalist are, “Tell me more”. The best way to edify other people is to focus on what is true, right, beautiful, ennobling and uplifting. When you project ‘positivity’ you shine like a sun in the center of every constellation you enter.
Madeleine L'Engle wisely said:
“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.”