You Don’t Need That Kind of Negativity

negativity

Have you seen all those memes about removing negativity and negative people from your life?

Here are a few them.

If anyone ever tells you that you drink too much coffee, stop talking to them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

If anyone tells you that you put too much parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

If anyone tells you that you have too many cats, stop talking to them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

If Bohemian Rhapsody starts playing and the person you’re with doesn’t start singing along, stop talking to them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

They’re only meant to be a bit of fun but they do raise the question, should we make sure people around us only provide endless positivity?

There’s a guy in the Old Testament of the Bible named Micaiah who dares to stand up to the kings of two nations and say something that doesn’t really ooze positivity.

The king of Israel calls 400 prophets to ask, “Should we go to war or should hold back?”

So these ‘prophets’ are kind of like his government advisers.

They all replied, “Yes, go right ahead! God will give the king victory.”

Then another king named Jehoshaphat jumps in and says, “Is there not also a prophet of the Lord here? We should ask him the same question.”

The king of Israel says, “There is one more man who could consult the Lord for us, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but trouble for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah.”

Jehoshaphat replies, “That’s not the way a king should talk! Let’s hear what he has to say.”

So the king calls for Micaiah.

Did you notice what the king of Israel said? “There is one more man who could consult the Lord for us, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but trouble for me!” Talk about shooting the messenger. He hates Micaiah because he doesn’t stroke the king’s ego by telling him what he wants to hear.

How often do we only allow ourselves to be surrounded by those who agree with us?

How often have we dismissed those who bring us the truth, as difficult as it may be sometimes? Do we seek out people who have permission to challenge us or only those who will say what we like hearing?

After a bit of banter between Micaiah and the kings, Micaiah tells them the news they don’t want to hear. He tells them that God doesn’t want them to go to war. The king of Israel then sends Micaiah off to prison with orders that he be put on strict rations of bread and water.

As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, they go to war and it all ends in tears. And by tears I mean death. Not being willing to take notice of what he didn’t want to hear caused the king’s demise.

The 400 prophets said what the king wanted to hear, but it certainly didn’t benefit him. In the end, the fact that they wanted to please the king and weren’t prepared to stand on the side of right made them complicit in his death.

There certainly are times that we need some distance from negative people but there are also times we need to distance ourselves from those who ooze positivity when it’s not warranted.

Are we allowing ourselves to be challenged by things we don’t necessarily want to hear? Have we discovered how to discern the difference between negativity and people who love us enough to speak the truth?

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist and blogger from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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10 Comments

  • I make every effort to stay positive and to be a positive person to others. But I also realize I need to do more than surround myself with “yes” people. I need those who will speak truth into my life. Good post Rodney. Since I’m not on social media it was interesting reading the quotes.

    • You’re right. A lot of people just want to be surrounded by ‘yes’ people but it doesn’t help them move forward. Truth isn’t always comfortable but we need it. Obviously those quotes are very much tongue in cheek, but as I mentioned, I think they actually speak to a deeper issue.

  • The other thing I can’t stand being regularly circulated on Facebook is that meme about a true friend being one who’ll help you hide the body if you commit a murder. Ummm no, a true friend will kick your butt all the way to the cop shop.

    • I get the sentiment of that one but you’re absolutely right. We’ve come to believe that a ‘true friend’ will cover up for us rather than calling us to account. We need those who can gently and lovingly, but with strength, hold us to a higher standard.

  • Excellent! I’ve been thinking about this lately. There *is* a difference between those who tear us down and those who God uses to speak difficult-but-freeing truth into our lives. And woe unto us if we’re sending away the wrong ones. Great post, Rodney! I’ll be sending my readers over here soon to read it. Blessings, Debra

  • amen … and it’s hard to be the one who delivers those words that will cause a possible rift … yet, kind words can be more ruinous … irony …
    thanx for popping by my blog … it really was a good period in my life (before fb) when we supported each other in the blogging community … blessings on you and your little family!

    • Thanks Saija. I certainly still read all the blogs that are still operating from all those years ago. I just don’t tend to comment as much these days. Considering how much I appreciate seeing comments on my own blog I’m making an effort to comment on others a lot more.