How do I Fight Negativity and Embrace God's Love?
- Jennifer Heeren Crosswalk Contributing Writer
- 2014 19 Jun
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
My husband often compliments me. He’ll say, “You look nice today” and “I’m glad you’re with me.” He’ll even tell me when he runs into people that know me and they compliment my friendly demeanor. When he tells me such things, I know he’s telling the truth... but something inside of me shoos away those compliments.
When I was about twelve, an older boy on my school bus would make fun of me and call me names almost every day. I didn’t fight back or say anything. I just blinked back the tears. It didn’t matter that I barely even knew the boy and he barely knew me. We were in two different grades and didn’t have any other contact except for being on the same school bus. Nevertheless, the mean comments stuck within me. I felt insecure and that insecurity stayed for a long time. As an adult, I know that his mean comments were more about his own anger in life. Like most bullies, someone at some point probably hurt him in his childhood. However, I did not think like that when I was twelve. Back then, it just hurt and insecurity grew.
One person that knows me very well compliments me and I don’t want to believe it. Another person that doesn’t know me at all says something destructive and it stays with me for years.
I can recount positive things that people have said about me throughout the years when I deliberately think hard about them. However, the negative things that I have heard about myself tend to stick. They are readily available to my mind even when I don’t try to recall them.
The bad is much easier to believe.
The spirit of rejection lingers like the smell of fish long after the pan leaves the stove. It tries and often succeeds to crowd out all of the good memories. Memories of negative words spoken from the first twenty years of life seem to be the most aggressive and want to stick along the longest. You are just figuring out your true personality and you are vulnerable to everything. Therefore, even the bad comments become a part of your personality, whether you want them to or not. The incidents are specific and isolated but they can become the lens by which I see my present and future.
If these negative words become a part of my personality during my formative years, how do I fight them? Do I have to resign myself to the fact that they will always be there? No. I can allow the black backdrop of rejection to help me to see God’s love even brighter.
Romans 8:1-2 in the Message version of the Bible says that those who are in Christ no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of the life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air. There is no condemnation. Even my bad memories can be redeemed. Like many lessons in life though, they diminish day-by-day as I replace them with Scripture, not all-at-once. When the memories show their ugly face, I immediately seek to replace them with a thought from Scripture about God’s love and his thoughts about me. God loves me unconditionally and unfailingly and he will never leave me nor forsake me. His opinion far outweighs other people’s opinions.
In addition, because the bad is easier to believe, I should be even more careful about my own careless words. My words spoken in anger, haste, or even jealously can become the bad memories of someone else. May everything I say be good and helpful, so that my words will be an encouragement to those who hear them (Ephesians 4:29b).
Do you have bad memories that need to be redeemed? Take them to Jesus in prayer. He can and will redeem them. Slowly that feeling of condemnation will cease when you replace it with God’s love for you.
Jennifer Heeren has always loved to write. For more than a decade, she has enjoyed writing encouraging blog messages. She loves to write things that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk.com and has also been published on ChristianDevotions.us. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at www.jenniferheeren.com.
Publication date: June 19, 2014