Her eyes seemed as wide as dinner plates as she readied to speak. I knew something big was coming for I had seen this play unfold before many times in Christian circles.
I could tell this was directed at me. Great disdain was in her voice and her body language was charged full of anger. Then the words exploded…
“You’re so negative! You need to be positive!”
What led up to this outburst?
Several of us at this meeting were talking about what God was doing around the world. We gave Him praise for this. When it came time for me to specifically interact, I felt the Holy Spirit lead me to proclaim the good things I saw but also the sorry, sorry state of the Western church, with an emphasis on the American experience. After all, I am a bit of a prophet they tell me. The displeasure of God with many behaviors was both hurting His heart and directing Him to discipline the church here. Others present seemed connected with my proclamation in the Spirit.
Was she negative about my being “negative?” Sure. And by her own definition.
But I think differently about this.
On closer inspection, was I being “negative?” Perhaps. But what does God’s Holy Word lead us to conclude?
Many years ago, after several rounds of this “we just need to be positive” Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Schuller, Joel Osteen, western brand of New Age “everything is great, and all success is yours so just believe it and it will happen” school of theological doctrine, the Spirit led me to an experiment.
Over several days, I took the entire New Covenant record and with my Bible software placed every verse into one of two documents. The first document dealt with Kindness, Gentleness, Humility, as most American Christians I know might define it. Let’s call this for the sake of this teaching, “positive.” The second dealt with Boldness, Command, Judging, Exhortation, Prophecy, Rebuke, Admonishment, Defense, Sarcasm, Irony. These are things most Americans consider NOT to be at all positive. Let’s call this “negative.”
What do you think were the results? Go ahead and take a guess. How many pages long was each document? How long was the Positive, and how long was the Negative?
The Positive document was 20 pages full of verses.
And the Negative?
169 pages long. Over 800% longer.
Of course, you might disagree with the way I chose to split the verses. But even if I was a whopping 20% wrong (for a 40% total swing), it still is overwhelming in the conclusion. The Bible itself is probably considered “negative” to most western peoples.
Of course, most people I know, even in our families, aren’t in God’s Word…so all these illiterate educated people would only be persuaded by the media influence of the day.
I once heard a learned saint teaching and he said with all earnestness that the Bible is mostly corrective. If we’re such great “sinners” as the modern church proclaims (vs. saints walking in holiness), then wouldn’t a loving, righteous, caring God want to correct our errant ways to lead us fully in Him?
Let’s look at several examples from the life of Paul:
Acts 18:6 But when they resisted and blasphemed, he (Paul) shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
Now let me ask you straightforward, saints. Is this “negative?” Did he ever say to them he’d agonize in prayer for these lost pagans until the bitter end? No. Maybe he did. But he didn’t leave them with the popular phrase “Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your lives.”
Again, we see:
1 Cor. 6:5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren…
1 Cor. 15:34 Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
Speaking shame to the drifting Corinthians? Shame in place of honor was, and is, the ultimate mid-Eastern dis-“grace.” Positive or negative?
To the Galatians, and Corinthians:
Galatians 3:1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
1 Cor. 15:36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies…
Calling both assemblies fools in letters that many other groups would read as well? Positive or negative?
Sarcastically, Paul was hoping the people bothering the Galatians will castrate themselves. What? He said what? Certainly, Marc, you’ve finally gone over the line here. Let’s see:
Galatians 5:12 I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate (castrate their genitals) themselves.
I’m sure you get the point. You may still disagree.
But what about Jesus? Well, no help here for a more positive stand.
He was much worse than Paul.
Why? Could it be He’s so much less concerned with our feelings and ultimately concerned with the eternal state of our souls? Jesus sets the bar very high for entry into the Kingdom.
Few there be that enter the narrow gate.
Only a few.
Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
(For a look at why Jesus commanded His followers to avoid this see: DO NOT CAST YOUR PEARLS: ABOUT PIGS & DOGS [MONDAY MANNA 101] and HOW JESUS REALLY TREATS HIS REBELLIOUS CHURCH BODY [DEAR BRETHREN 17])
The passages of Matthew 5-7 are written to disciples, at the very least. They’re a primer of what’s expected as one counts the cost of His kingdom and to follow Jesus Christ to the death.
Let’s paraphrase this passage to see how profound it might appear if Jesus were to proclaim this truth another way:
I say this to you who really love Me, the Son of God, by obeying. I say this to you who really love Me, the Son of God, by obeying. Those of you who truly desire to follow Me until the end of your earthy days, this is for you. Listen, for again I say to those who have ears to hear: you must obey all your days to please Me. There are those who claim to follow Me, the tares who are really false. Others too beside them in My assemblies will not accept my Holy Word and it’s sacred proclamations.
When you run across these people, the Holy Spirit will give you discernment before you waste on them the holy wisdom I have mercifully given you. Of course, I love them with my gracious, merciful love that I show everyone that I’ve created in My image.
But My approving love that is reserved for only those who obey me, has been denied to them unless and until they repent and decide to obey Me faithfully. I, as King of Kings and Lord or Lords, consider these disobedient so-called followers ugly wild dogs, and worse than that, dirty vicious pigs.
Let Me say this again so you understand the depth of My holiness: I see them at this time as wild dogs and viscous pigs who will hate you and even kill you. They, like my murders, will think they are doing our Father a real favor. You are to consider them the same as I do. I command you as your King: do not give them the holy truth of wisdom for life eternal.
Deny them this gracious privilege for they are unworthy at this time. Do not disobey Me by being fooled to treat everyone the same. I didn’t and neither should you.
Wow. Positive or negative?
Jesus’ message to the saints at Sardis:
Rev. 3:5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
Let’s read it backwards for a fresh, new understanding.
The saint (one who claims pure allegiance to Me) who does not overcome the world will not be clothed in white garments, and I will erase his name from the book of life, and I will not confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
Positive or negative? You be the judge.
We often hear the sickening saccharin phrase that “Jesus was so sweet.” Jesus was so sweet? Most of the time?
He so infuriated those against Him and the religious leaders of the day that they found a despicable way to murder Him. Nailed up strip stark naked on a wooden tree in front of His own mother. What causes men to so hate a person to do that? Someone who is “so sweet?” And what was the earthly fate of the apostles? Death to all as far as we know.
Shoot the messenger, these murderers figured, and do God a favor. Bad plan. It backfired on them. Good plan for us. Holy plan from God! He works all things to His glory for those few who truly love Him in obedience. Thank you, our dear Lord and Savior! We love you. Help us to persevere by Your gracious omnipotent power.
“Don’t judge!” Did someone make a judgment in order to say that?
“Let’s not talk about religion.” Well, then that’s their religion, that is, no religion.
It’s just so negative to always be positive. And…it’s directly opposite of how the Lord Himself lived His life and taught us to behave.
But maybe you think I’m being too negative in saying this!
Please comment on this post right below. Feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion.
Your friend and brother in fighting the good fight,
Saints, we’re one day closer to Home, and Him! Love Him wholeheartedly!
You may view our Archives here: MONDAY MANNA – ARCHIVES; Complete Archives; feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion. May our Father richly bless you with His grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in order to walk worthy of His name.
Please comment on this post right below. Feel free to write and proclaim your