Just a photo of what I'm hoping for soon!
Up here it will probably be another 4 months, lol!

Betsy, over at Joyful Reflections, is asking an interesting question today on her new post - Let's Talk Fridays. Rather than write her such a long comment, I decided to add my thoughts to the conversation on my own post.

One of my favorite life verses is 
"Be joyful always; pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances, 
for this is GOD'S WILL for you."

Seems to me, however, that those who whine, spew negativity and complain a lot are hurting, angry people. Perhaps they have experienced unparalleled trauma, are in chronic pain or have one setback after another. What if those things were happening to me and I became weepy, whiny or always wistful? How would I want to be treated?

I’m going to share with you something my son said quite a while back when we were discussing this topic of how to deal with negative folks.

“People who are hurt and depressed are afflicted. Our afflictions are from God and we are not always joyful and thankful. Fortunately, the Hebrew Bible provides a voice for those times, voices of lamentation, grieving, anger, and consolation.... How has that one verse - 
"Be joyful always; pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is GOD'S WILL for you"

done so much to obliterate this testimony, 
creating communities 
that demand false joy, happy faces, 
and who ignore the biblical ministry 
of lament, grief, anger, and consolation? 
I see no perpetually happy prophets 
and often hear the voices of 
conflicted, oppressed, and angry psalmists! 
Is there a place for the hurt 
and the depressed and the bored 
to come and praise God? 
I am indeed thankful that God wills 
that I should be joyful; 
I am also relieved that God 
doesn't require it of me. 
Maybe people should take less offense 
to hurt and depressed people, 
and commiserate instead of judge or help 
(with a joyful heart!) instead of criticize.”
Ken Ristau

I’m still learning more and more, to not be offended by negative people, to commiserate, to validate what people feel, to allow others to vent, to listen with compassion, to gently or firmly as the need may be, show people the error in their thinking patterns by mirroring back to them what I heard them say. I can't fix them, only God can, but perhaps He is using my positive influence to affect the change in their lives.

I guess that’s why I work in pastoral care and counseling. I’m also still learning to not let Satan steal my energy and joy because I know Who is the true source of my joy and energy and He will supply all I need. 

Oh, my dear friends, I'm not there yet...
and God is still working on me!

Finally, brothers and sisters, 
whatever is true, 
whatever is noble, 
whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, 
whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things. 

Philippians 4:8

If we all did that
there would be no room
for negativity in our lives!


pam said...

hmmmm...I'm so thankful He loves me even when my human frailties win out. So often we don't realize how we slowly slip into a state of whining and despair. It is so important to be able to express it freely...get it out of our heads and have godly friends who will listen and pray.

We can "know" a lot in our heads about what the Word says of how we ought to be but oh how much we all do have to learn about submitting ourselves to the Master Potter. We're all a work in progress. So good to reflect back to others what you hear them say. I really think we are often blind to our weakness's.

I like your son's thoughts. How would Jesus love us? So that is my question to Him when I encounter that "one" who just drags on all of us....how would Jesus respond. He came to set us free and LOTS of things entrap us from our past that God can deliver us from those lies. So many people have bought into lies about themselves...."as a man thinks in his heart so is he". So my goal is how to help someone be able to receive the Truth...that they are worth loving. Jesus did not come for the healthy...

When Jesus heard this, he told them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor--sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners."

I often think this would extend beyond the issue of salvation. I too have LOVED that Romans 12 verse....it used to be on my header for ever...always something to attain to.

Betty said...

Such an insightful, meaningful post! Everybody should read this. You wrote it down what we need to do, but it´s soooo hard to actually DO this. Thank you for giving me the "Ansporn" to make more of an effort.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Yes,I agree there is a place for us to listen and hear what others are saying.I have no problem with that and I so appreciate those who let me cry when I need to,but it is the people who have gotten into this 'poor me' rut that wear me down.I do care when someone is hooting or going through difficult times and I try to let them share this without being judgemental.

ellen b. said...

We just did a word study in our Bible study of murmur, murmurings, grumbling, disputing. Philippians 2: 14-15. So I'm in the middle of trying to figure out what constitutes grumbling in my life. Scripture is pretty harsh
(1 Corinthians 10: 1-11) and classifies grumbling right in with desiring evil, idolatry, sexual immorality, putting Christ to the test.
I think the verse from Philippians is key to us having the right frame of mind.

All that to say no easy answer from me for sure. I'm struggling along here and glad God is still at work on me and will be till I meet him face to face.

Joy said...

Great insights Karin, yes its hard for us. Such a battlefield for the mind. We all know the Negative Nelly that can bring you down in an instant. At what point do you say... enough already.
I've been watching a dvd series by Caroline Leaf called Who Switched Off my Brain and she talks about negativity and how it affects our brain when we let it fester in our lives. The mental, physical and emotional all take the impact.

Thanks for sharing this,
♥ Joy

George said...

I think you've done a wonderful job of commenting on and supplementing Betsy's post. Your son can express profound thoughts very well -- I think he must have learned well from his mother.
Thank you for a wonderful, thoughtful post.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Interesting, Karin... Thanks for piggy-backing on my post. Hope you read all of my great comments also since people have such good ideas.

When I think of 'negative' people--I'm not necessarily talking about those who are old, afflicted, in pain or sick. They have excuses to feel 'grumpy' I'm sure. I do think that God expects us to help those people in every way possible.

The negative people I am thinking of are those who just seem to have been born negative. If you say black, they say white. If you talk about a beautiful rainbow, they'll complain because it wasn't clear or vivid enough. They just cannot see the positive side of life..

Those are the ones which I struggle with. Being a caregiver myself, I have tried to be positive and to approach things in a positive manner around them--but it seldom works. What happens is that I will allow them to bring me DOWN in the process. Those are the situations which I need to get out of...

I don't have the answers for people like that --but one thing I know for sure is that they generally do not like themselves.. Changing one's attitude begins with THEM...

God Bless You, Sweet Karin.

Sandy said...

Good thoughts!
I love Philippians 4:8.

Glenda said...

I think you "hit the nail on the head"! We must remember Who our source of joy is! I haven't "arrived" in this area, either. But I have learned that even in the most bitter of circumstances, we can always find something to give thanks for. We can always be grateful that He never leaves us.

Ginny said...

YES, AMEN!!!! You also have a kind of different take on this, talking about the prophets who were sorrowful! These poor people need uplifting, and I like to be as postive with them as they are negative with me! Can you imagine the world looking so grim and lacking in beauty to these people? They see the sun, but only the heat, not the beauty or the rainbow.

Velvet Over Steel said...

Wonderful & loving perspective, Karin!

So very true, every word. This is why I try to not judge and understand these obviously 'unhappy' people. My challenge and lesson recently is the fact that I have to find the balance of compassion with personal boundaries and even safty. The 2 woman stalking me now are Very unhappy woman who both admit to nothing wrong. One went through a horrible childhood, at least according to a close relative of hers. She has never admitting anything & even has her own 'version' of her childhood. Sadly, she is down right Evil & manipulating as a result of not dealing with her obvious hurt/pain. The other woman admits to her childhood and uses her past as an excuse for treating others horribly.

Both situations are sad, however I also had a 'bad' childhood and choose to see myself as a surviver and want to Help others instead of hurting them as a payback or whatever their thinking/actions are really about.

Great post, Karin!!! So needed, esp. for me right now. Have a Wonderful weekend!!
Coreen xoxoxo

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

Fabulous post. Tho, I still have a lot of difficulties at times when all the negatives I see on the news [I've learned to shut it off then, or just leave] and especially the negative things that happen with my kids. That I still deal with with great difficulties. As with others whom I don't know...I say to myself, "It's a personal thing" and leave it at that. My motto is always try to look for the positive. Which is finding the negative and being positive to just ignore. LOL Like I said tho, it's more difficult said than done at times.

Bobbi said...

What a wonderful post!! I've always had a problem dealing with negative people. This has been very enlightening and I thank you for sharing this...

Nezzy said...

I have had some very negative people in my family who always see the dark side of everything. I've just learned to 'laugh' it off. It's just the way I fly but I have always said, "if you expect the worse...that's what life is gonna hand ya!"

Isn't it great that we can rest in the fact the God wants good for his children???

God bless and have a most beautiful weekend sweetie!!! :o)

Ann said...

Like I told Betsy, I pretend to be listening to the miserable negative person when in fact I am nit even listening.

Shug said...

We all have choices to make in life and it is up to each and every one of us to make the decision to live a happy full life or to live in misery. I truthfully believe that if a person is serving the Lord in the capacity that we are suppose to server HIM in, then there should be no question as to which of these we want to choose. Negativity does not even fit into the picture. I want to be on a natural High at all times in order for me to share the Love of God to with all those I come in contact with....just sayin'
Have a Blessed Sunday..

Wendy said...

What a powerful post, Karin!
And your son is a wise being. Very wise in my opinion. I can see him being the type of person who sends negative people love, unconditional love, for this is what they are crying for.

And the rest of what you expressed, I totally agree with (about you holding up a mirror, not fixing them,that's God's job etc.).

Negative people won't go away. And we've all been negative at one time or another. Love, hugs, and if it does get draining or overwhelming, you take a break or hold up a mirror so they can see for themselves how they are behaving. Often they don't even realize how they impact others; they don't even know what they sound and look like. And we know that behaviour is not the true essence of the person.

C said...

Karrriiiinnnnnn! How are you? I have missed you! How are you this Valentine's Day, and how have you been?

Regarding your post, I think that we have all been through pains and have our own share of heartache, but the difference is some of us choose to NOT be victims and we stand up and we say "I will not be a victim, I am not a victim, of my life." while the others point back to everyone who's hurt them since their toddler years, and blaming those experiences and those people for all of their wrong choices and mistakes, today.

I hope that you and the love of your life are having a beautiful Valentine's Day together! It's also the day that I am revealing my new novella to everyone over at my blog, and I hope that you will be able to support me and purchase a copy of my book, once it is available for ordering! :)


Karabeth Bapt. Homeschool said...

It really is hard to be in a counseling/caregiving ministry where one must hear other peoples' negative thoughts and attitudes. It helps me to know that I am only responsible to help that person as much as I can and to "put feet to my prayers" in any way possible but I don't need to internalize their trauma. That would be taking on an area that only God has the power to change.

Great thoughts, Karin.

Lady Dorothy said...

Interesting. I don't think joy is the opposite of the trials we go through. I believe that joy is a fruit of the Spirit and not dependent on our circumstances. Negativity comes when other things take God's place.

How should we deal with others' negativity? I think YOU have a good grasp on that!