We all have to deal with negativity and negative people in life. However, the reason this often affects us is that we choose to take things personally. Here are some biblical tips for rising above frustration.
After reading the above sentence, you might be thinking you’re about to hear some victim blaming. Far from it. Instead, you’re about to learn that dealing with and handling negativity is all about personal responsibility. We all have a responsibility to take care of our self-image and self-esteem. The problem is that we often go about it the wrong way.
Most of the time when we get our feelings hurt it’s because we are taking things personally.
Often, we often react with anger and retaliation. It’s a defensive response we do without thinking. But returning insult for insult doesn’t help anything. In fact, it can often reinforce the lie the offending party is trying to perpetrate.
And we shouldn’t react. We should ignore.
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.”
– 2 Timothy 2:23
But that’s not the only problem.
Another problem, and a far more common one, is that we allow the negative projection from the offending party to take root in our mind as a potential or literal truth. We think that just because someone else says something that there must be some bit of fact or truth in it. No – it doesn’t. Sometimes it is a blatant untruth.
For example, what if someone says we are unattractive in some way? Because of that comment, we believe we have some flaw. After all, they saw it, right? Wrong. It’s only that person’s opinion – not truth. Another person may see the complete opposite.
There are just some people in the world that are never happy and enjoy making trouble.
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”
People with good things in their hearts don’t create deceit or slander other people.
Negative people are often troubled inside and they project their frustration on everyone else. It often comes from a place of selfishness and self-importance. It can also come from covetousness, envy, and jealousy. This leads to judging other people.
But the impact that negative people and their words can have on us can be significantly diminished if we better understand them. Understanding that negative people are ill, we realize they have a soul-level sickness. We should be the bigger person review them with compassion. Rather than being angry and aggressive toward negative people, we should pity them. Rather than get frustrated, we should be patient. Rather than seeking retribution, we should pray that they be healed.
“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,”
Another key is tolerance. Just because the negative person is not tolerant is no reason we cannot be.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
– Philippians 4:8
One of the best things we can do is simply avoid negative people. Part ways with them and don’t keep company with them whenever we can avoid it.
“Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
Of course, avoiding negative people is always possible. Sometimes they are the people we work with, they are our relatives, and you might even be married to one.
It all begins by setting your mind on higher things. Not things of the world, but things of the spirit.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
The Bible tells us of the fruits, or attributes, of the spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
– Galatians 5:22-23
When this is your mindset, you have a better awareness of your own self-image. It makes it much harder to take someone else’s words personally or for their opinion to make you question your knowledge of self. It fosters confidence in one’s self. It also reduces any want of retaliation.