Do you have negative thoughts, do you grumble and complain? Does someone annoy you? We all have those difficult people and circumstances in our lives. The question is whether we will focus on the negative and let those thoughts bring us down into the pit of despair. For that matter, consider whether you bring others down with you. Think about it. We have the power to bring life or death to ourselves and others in our homes, workplace, church, and communities. Our thoughts and words have power.
Often times, misery seeks the company of others and destroys lives. That root of bitterness breeds negative thoughts that will be communicated through body language and facial expressions. When we criticize, complain, condemn, and argue we push people away and disobey God, who says,
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe (Phil. 2:14-15).
Are you shining like a star? Do people see a joy-filled Jesus in you? They will if you have an attitude of praise and thanksgiving. It’s not that hard. Look at the impoverished nations around the world where people are trying to survive violence, disease, and starvation. We have so much to be thankful for. We can even thank God for our struggles, which gives us an opportunity to pray and see God at work.
Delight in difficult people! Build them up. Make it your challenge to point out her great qualities. You can do it! Focus on the positive NOT the negative. Give him or her hope through your words of affirmation. Follow God’s Word to be blessed when He tells you the following:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29).
Be aware of what you say. Often times we justify our negative words to make someone change, but I believe more change can take place when we focus on what people are doing right. Does this mean we never point out areas of opportunity? Of course not. God says to speak truth in love to build up the church body. We grow and mature when we step out in faith and confidence in Christ to lovingly express areas of concern. But for now, focus on the strengths of the difficult person in your life. In a future blog I will discuss the 4-steps to have a difficult conversation. Until then, eagerly anticipate what you can discover about the person as you look at the following list of positive qualities:
Write down the qualities you appreciate about your spouse; your children, and even your rebellious teenager; co-worker or boss; neighbor or friend; in-law, parent, or sibling. Think about building up that person by pointing out the positive. A sentence like the following could change your relationships:
“I want you to know that I think you’re an amazing person. I’m proud of you. I see that you’re committed and dedicated toward (school, sports, your hobby, friends, work, or the dog). You’re thoughtful and loyal which will take you far in your future career and family. I know you’ll be successful at whatever you choose to do.”
If you’re talking to a spouse or even an ex-spouse or an in-law, your conversation might look like this:
“Although I haven’t expressed it much, I think you’re an amazing person. You have made a difference in my life and our family. And I want to thank you for all the times over the years that you’ve been helpful and encouraging and supportive. I appreciate what you’ve contributed to our family. Those are things I once took for granted, but I want you to know that I’m grateful. I love you and I’m here to support you.”
This may seem impossible, but God does the impossible. He says you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Phil. 4:13). In fact, God says that you can do immeasurably more than all you ask or imagine with His power of the Holy Spirit at work in you to demonstrate the glory of God (Eph. 3:20-21).
Changing your negative outlook can transform your life. Imagine if you started every conversation with the words, “You’re amazing or I’m proud of you or I appreciate you for (list all the positive qualities and what they do).”
Do it and watch what happens. Let this become a habit and try again and again. Your difficult person may test you to see if this is a temporary change or experiment, but make gratefulness a way of life.
By focusing on your blessings, you will be changed. I guarantee it! I’m living proof. Delivered from the pit of despair, I feel alive with a grateful heart of praise, worship, and thanksgiving to an amazing God who has blessed me abundantly. As I changed my attitude, my marriage continues to improve and my broken relationships restored.
What are you thankful for? Please share your thoughts to help our community of readers gain an attitude of gratitude, praise, and thanksgiving that will lead us all to a more joy-filled life.
Thanks for doing life with me,
Information shared in this post is from my book LOVING THE UNLOVABLE, Transforming difficult relationships with God’s truth. Available on Amazon or you can order through your local bookstore.