It’s taken me years, but I love being positive. I wish I had learned the value and importance of being positive sooner in life. I love being around positive people. It’s encouraging and refreshing. In the spiritual realm, being positive is connected to faith in God. We can and must always trust in God. God can work. God can bring good out of bad. God can work all things together for good to those who love and trust Him (Rom. 8:28). Positivity because of faith in God is needful.

But sometimes people get a wrong idea that to be positive you cannot acknowledge the reality of a negative. They think this is faith. On the contrary, this is wishful thinking that is not real faith. Faith is based on truth (Rom. 10:17). I’m afraid we can be deceived into thinking that positives can exist without negatives. Positives demand negatives—not negativity, but the recognition that positives must of necessity have negatives that protect the positives. It’s positively not possible to be only positive.

Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22:37-40). When Jesus stated these two greatest commandments, He stated them positively. However, the Ten Commandments are given primarily as negative statements featuring a prominent “Thou shalt not” introduction. Both the positive and the negative are needful to have a full picture, for Jesus also said on the two greatest commandments hang all the law and the prophets. The positive of loving the Lord with all your heart demands the negatives of having no other gods, no idols, and not taking God’s name in vain. The positive of loving your neighbor as yourself demands negatives, specifically, not murdering, not committing adultery, not stealing, not lying, and not coveting what is your neighbor’s.

You cannot be properly positive without being necessarily negative. In our own lives, in our families, as well as in our Christian communities, we must know the balance that real positives demand real negatives to guard the positives. Having the negatives that God leads us to have is not being negative since it is for protecting our love relationship with God. That’s positive.

Sadly, some have focused on the negatives and in so doing have missed the positive needful focus on God. This negativity of the letter of the law without the Spirit kills (2 Cor. 3:6). But to be positively focused on God and loving Him demands negatively shutting out anything that hinders or harms this most precious relationship.

John Van Gelderen

John Van Gelderen

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