Like most people, I’ve experienced the destructive nature of negativity from a distance and engaged in negative chit-chat from time to time. However, I’d never fully witnessed its destructive effects on a lingering personal and painful basis until very recently when I became the victim of collateral damage. The destruction came, in this case, from emotional atomic bombs dropped by those significant to me, leaving a swath of destruction and damaged relationships in their paths. My prayer is that this brief blog will help the healing process while relieving a little frustration and (most importantly!) helping others cope or change their behavior if necessary.
Allowing ourselves to get sucked into negative slander and back-stabbing conversation can feel good for a moment while it creates an air of emotional bonding over common foes or hatreds; however, there’s nothing helpful and everything hurtful about the practice that begins with a negative thought. Here are some sobering tidbits about the effects of negative thought and speech:
- Fact: Cancer and this type of thinking and behavior are linked, as are physical ailments and crippling illnesses.
- Fact: Emotional and mental fallout from this self-generated thinking and behavior include anger, depression, paranoia, and unhappiness at the very least.
- Fact: There’s probably no quicker way to destroy personal and family relationships than to react out of anger with hateful or slanderous speech after working oneself into a frenzy about things that are likely to be untrue or exaggerated. The tongue is indeed a destructive weapon! “So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.“-James 3:5-6.
- Fact: Negative speech and thought are likely symptoms of deeper emotional or spiritual issues. Jesus, after all, made this related comment: “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and these defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” –Matthew 5:18-19.
- Fact: Those aligned with God don’t practice negative, destructive speech. The alternative should be clear.
- Slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. —Romans 1:30-32.
- But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. —Colossians 3:8.
Regarding Confrontation. However, this isn’t to be confused with healthy, unassuming confrontation whereby issues and behavior can be addressed and resolved; forgiveness and healing are often the positive side-effects.
Where do we go from here? If you recognize these behaviors in yourself, then stop!! Begin substituting negative thoughts with positive ones, and getting clarification instead of making assumptions and harboring anger. Don’t engage in negative conversation. And, dwell on good and positive activities. On the other hand, if you already do those things and are, therefore, not a negative and slandering individual: Keep on keepin’ on!