Negative thinking can be contagious. Like the cold virus, we can catch negativism from others and others can catch it from us. Yet it is the 'catching of negativism' that we're warned about the most. Back in the 17th Century a man named George Herbert poignantly illustrated this when he said, "He that lies with the dogs, rises with fleas." In other words, if we are constantly with negative folks then we'll soon be thinking negatively.
Paul says, "We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak..."
Sometimes a person may cloak a silent, unhealed wound of the heart with negativism. To be helpful to others who are weak with sadness, loneliness, anger, hurt or the disheartened means that we feel what they feel and empathize with them. Paul tells us to build up those who are negative with generous encouragement and support. In this way the healing process begins. He says that, "Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor." We put our self interests aside in order to hear those who wish to share what is hurting them.
Choose to be with and become influenced by folks who are positive in ministry for Jesus Christ. At the same time mirror Christ to those who struggle with negativism because it is an outward symptom of a deep wound that Jesus can heal. "Christ did not please Himself," as He came to teach us how to love without the negativity of selfishness.
We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not please ourselves. Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor. For Christ did not please Himself, but, as it is written, "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on Me." Romans 15:1-4
Rev. Patricia E. Walker, AlphaChurch.org