Friday May 6, 2011
I believe that all of us have an innate desire to please when we come into this world. We have a desire to please our parents, our first grade teacher, our boyfriend or girlfriend, our employer, our employees, our spouse, our children, God, etc. We all want to be affirmed for what we do and the gifts we bring to the table. We want to be appreciated for doing good things like providing financially, cooking and cleaning, shopping, fixing things, outside chores, etc. When we get stroked positively, it gives us encouragement to continue to do those good things.
Unfortunately, the opposite is true when we continually hear the negative things we are doing or are not meeting up to someone’s expectation. Negativity and criticism causes us to feel disappointed and after a time to feel hopeless that we can ever get it right. Most give up and have the attitude of, “What’s the use, no matter what I do it is never good enough so why try.” Some people who use negativity would say that they are just trying to help the person do their best. Unfortunately right intentions usually end up in unhealthy end results of the person giving up.
Nehemiah experienced this opposition of negativity as he was seeking to build the Jerusalem wall from his own people. “Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, ‘The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.'” (Neh. 4:10). In one sentence they said three negative things. The work of the laborers is losing steam. There is too much rubble to clean out. We cannot rebuild the wall. I don’t know about you, but hearing those things wouldn’t be too motivating for me to continue. Negative messages cause demotivation to occur and can stop a job from being completed entirely depending upon the response of the leader.
Nehemiah responded by saying, “After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome. . .” (Neh. 4:14). After every opposition Nehemiah encountered, he went to the Lord or communicated with the people who had been discouraged and had feelings of wanting to give up. He encouraged them about the power of the Lord they were serving.
On this journey, there will be times you encounter negativity and criticism. How you respond to the negativity and criticism will determine victory or defeat.