I am concerned about a climate that seems to have gripped our country. Perhaps it is an attitude that is beyond the borders of our nation and extends further than this time frame, but it seems as though the attitudes of negativity and impatience have become fixtures in our daily lives.
Perhaps the most public display of this is in political realm. Politicians work harder it seems to discredit and undermine each other rather than attempting to work together and compromise. It is easy to only blame the politicians, but often we on the other side of things are just as bad. It is easy to read the comments section of any political news article and see Republicans blaming Democrats, Democrats blaming the Republicans, people blaming the poor or the rich, these “discussions” often just become cesspools of negativity. Then add to the mix that we want results at the snap of a finger and fail to realize that change and perhaps particularly good change takes time. In the end it seems like all this does is create a cycle of negativity and impatience, we may go into things with high hopes, as many did with Obama, but when things are rushed so as to not make the impatient people angry all it does is create a lot of negativity for those who view a situation differently. Sadly it appears to wind up creating people who are elected not because of their views or experience, but rather on who they are not.
Let us depart from politics though. This attitude also seems to follow us to our workplaces. How do I know this since I am not currently working, well for one I’ve worked before and for another my wife does work. It is easy to see people in the same workplace make snap judgments about one another rather than even attempt to understand that person or why they may have acted a certain way in that situation. It is also not uncommon for people to act as though they were in a competing workplace instead of a workplace that is all working together for a similar goal. They talk about one another behind people’s backs, make snap judgments, complain, or just don’t do their job well because of their dissatisfaction. This doesn’t mean that there are not places for some of these things in certain circumstances, but all too often in these circumstances positives steps are ignored in favor of negativity and a desire not to have to go to all the work of having to understand a person or a situation.
Perhaps most sadly, is that this attitude is alive and healthy in the church as well. It is perhaps easy to think about the reaction to Rob Bell’s Love Wins here, but I’m not necessarily talking about that, even though it is an example. What about our reactions to changes that are happening in church or perhaps changes that are not happening that we want to see? How do we react to those changes? Sadly it seems that too many times we react with negativity, a complaining spirit, trying to undermine leadership or one another, and a desire to ramrod our change through simply because of our preferences or idea of what we should do. It can be seen in people who only ever speak up to say something negative that they think should be done a certain way, rather than being a voice of encouragement and someone you can count on when things are going well.
As I said perhaps this isn’t anything new, but it just seems to be that it is a prevailing thing in our day. I’m not even presenting this as a negative diatribe to everyone out there. I even feel the pull to react negatively or impatiently with things I see, but what good does that do? With all these cases it is so easy to criticize, make snap judgments, and be impatient. We need to be willing to work together for positive change, putting ourselves out there beside those working for change instead of being armchair commentators, perhaps most of all we need to realize that change does and should take time. It is the harder path for certain and there will be people who bring you down because of that, but I firmly believe that it is a path we need to and should take. You can’t stop all the negativity that others do around you, but it can start with us.