By Janelle Pollard
My husband Dale spoke at Polishing the Pulpit recently on the topic of pessimism and its effects on the church. As he ran through some of his points out loud, it got me thinking about how much can be paralleled with this topic and the design of the human body (I guess, as a nurse, I can’t help but make that connection).
For example, if the kidneys start actin’ up, if you will, the other organs will be affected. And if this isn’t addressed correctly and in a timely manner, it can wreak havoc on the rest of the body. The other organs will overcompensate to try and keep the body healthy, but they will eventually become damaged and not able to perform at their optimum levels. The body is an incredible machine designed by a perfect Creator but we live in a fallen world and sometimes we do things, even subconsciously, that can harm our own health. Likewise, the church was designed perfectly but sometimes we can also do harm to this body. When we as Christians display pessimism, either subconsciously or knowingly, we can cause major harm to the Lord’s body. Attitudes tend to be contagious. If someone voices several complaints and negative remarks, it can discourage others and lead to more negative attitudes. The church will not grow and thrive if pessimism is commonplace.
As we age, we must take care to treat our physical bodies with special consideration so that our health doesn’t deteriorate prematurely and we can enjoy a long life with those we love and in service to the Lord. In the same way, we must take care to treat the Lord’s body with special consideration, showing gratitude and love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. The church may not be perfect, but we can do things to help it grow and become stronger.
Here are some practical ways we can each take it upon ourselves to combat pessimism in our own congregations:
- If we hear someone complaining about someone or something in the church…instead of going along with the complaints and contributing to negativity, make it a point to verbalize something positive that you’re thankful for related to the topic.
- Do a character study of Barnabas. He was known as a great encourager and we could probably all learn a thing or two from him.
- If you happen to know a Negative Nelly in your congregation, make it a point to compliment them. This is not meant to be manipulative or dishonest, obviously. Find something you admire about them, anything really, and let them know. It could work wonders on this person, who may not often hear personal compliments. Take time to get to know them and I bet you’ll find there’s more positivity to be found by them, it just needed to be uncovered by someone who took the time.
Let’s all do our part to show positivity instead of pessimism so the church can grow and God can be glorified!