How Unpopular is Negativity?

I have recently noticed a shift in our society. We have stopped thinking and critiquing things as much. On the one hand, this is a good thing because overall, it’s more popular to be upbeat and positive. However, on the other hand, because we do not think or critique as much, many times people speak empty praise or even lie about things they dislike just because they don’t feel free to be negative. Let’s look at this from a few different scenarios.

Talk Shows

I like Jimmy Fallon as much as the next person. No, I do not endorse or agree with everything he does or says, but I appreciate his skill and influence in our culture. When the super bowl was in Indianapolis (in 2012), many people felt like it was in the middle of nowhere. Jimmy Fallon came and found what Indianapolis is known for and did a cute, rhyming, honoring sketch to Indianapolis. Anyone who lives here would be proud to call this their city after that sketch. During the 2016 elections, Jimmy Fallon managed to host both presidential candidates on his show and have some fun with both of them. He tried to remain positive and not choose sides. When Jerry Seinfeld had Jimmy Fallon on his show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, a few unexpected things happened. Yet Jimmy remained positive.

Wealthy

Call me crazy, but I’ve noticed this trend more among those who have money than among those who do not. Those with money seem more “go with the flow, it’ll be all right” type of people than those without. Perhaps this is because they have less worries than those who struggle financially. Or perhaps it’s their attitudes that have made them more successful than those with negativity. Some studies have shown those with positive attitudes tend to make more and get promoted faster, so this makes sense.[1] So obviously being positive has its benefits. Yet it should also have some boundaries. Lying is obviously sinful and as Christians, we should not do that. We can respectfully speak truth when needed or asked.

The One Exception

The one exception I have seen in our culture is when it comes to specific ideas our culture has accepted that go against what the Bible says. When it comes to these specifics, people have no problem being negative. But why? Is it because it conflicts with what they believe and they feel some sort of conviction if they’re proven wrong? Do they feel threatened? Or is it because of something deeper, something internal, something spiritual? Could it be because of 1 Peter 2:8 where Peter talks of Christ being a stumbling block causing men to stumble who disobey him? Is this why people can be positive about every other topic and person under the sun, but when it comes to the Son of God, they squirm, run, or slander? They slip up in their positivity when this issue arises.

So what does this mean for Christians? Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with being positive. Yet we should be careful to still think and not blindly accept things that are clearly wrong or go against what the Bible says. We should still speak truth and not lie, yet always respectfully and lovingly. Due to this positive trend, being overly negative about anything will probably get us into trouble. Janet Parshall often says the way to beat a bad idea, is with a better one. Offer good ideas, better ones.

[1] https://www.fastcompany.com/1821479/7-steps-getting-paid-more-and-promoted-faster accessed 12.28.2016.

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