Is Your Family’s Negativity Hurting the Kingdom?

Our group today had to manage a rather intricate trip into another country. After a minor glitch, we stopped to ask someone for a little help. While she did help, she spent most of her time telling us about all of the mistakes we were making in our travel plans. Mind you, at this point we had no other options. We even shared that with her, yet she continued telling us how horrible the rest of our journey was going to be. I’m not sure her goal in critiquing everything, but had she then invited us to church (or anything else for that matter), I am not sure any of us would have accepted the invitation.

The ironic thing was that she couldn’t have been more incorrect. Turns out our choice was better than we could ever have imagined. We also were mature enough just to laugh off her critiques and not take them too seriously – after all we were stuck by that point anyway. Her negativity served no practical purpose. It just made us not want to be around her any longer than absolutely necessary.

Sadly, many Christians have gotten into the habit of critiquing anything and everything about Christians, Christianity and the church. Some of them probably think they are helping make things better – especially by highlighting these supposed issues for everyone on social media to see. Instead, I believe they are repelling the very people that they think they are helping. After all, who wants to be a part of something with so many horrible problems? Doesn’t the world have enough already?

Wonder if your family has a negativity problem? Give everyone permission to point out negativity from anyone for a certain period of time. How often is negativity part of the conversation? Talk about how you can reduce the negative talk. Discuss ways to help make needed changes in a congregation without making everyone want to run away from such a “problem” church as quickly as possible. Brainstorm ways to draw people to Christianity by being salt and light instead of vinegar. It’s okay to want to correct problems that actually need correcting. Just don’t destroy the church and Christianity in the process.

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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