A year ago, I charged you to not live your 2013 as 2012: The Sequel. Well, did you, or did you not? Are you experiencing new levels of life that are 180 degrees away from where you were, or are you still continuing to do the same things you were doing and expecting a different result? Have you surrounded yourself with like-minded people for your spiritual growth, or are you still hanging around negative people? It’s okay if you are. Believe me, because negativity has its own share of benefits.
Negativity serves a purpose. It helps you to see the positive in the world, just as the darkness allows you to see the stars. If you didn’t have negative experiences, you would never be able to appreciate the positive ones. If you were never sad, you wouldn’t know what it felt like to be happy. If you never felt fear, you wouldn’t know what faith felt like. If you were positive ALL the time, then you wouldn’t even know you were being positive because there would be no contrast. You would feel the same all the time. Negativity forces the BELIEVER to feel those painful emotions so that he or she can recognize and appreciate the positive emotions. Negativity builds character and strength when we persevere and overcome it. It causes the BELIEVER to build mental and emotional muscle. Here’s some advice for you who have had your fair share of negativity: increase your positive to negative ratio up to 3 to 1; that is, three positive emotions for every one negative emotion. Research shows that teams, couples, or individuals that experienced interactions at a ratio greater than 3 positives to one negative emotion were more productive and higher performing than those with a lower ratio. You have already had your first positive for the day. God woke you up. Did you thank Him for doing that? Do it before it’s too late. Here’s your second positive: Each and every one of you in this room today has had a part, albeit small or large, in helping me become who I am today. Because of your thoughts, prayers, conversation, advice, support, a smile, or maybe even something as small as a status like on Facebook, I am, and Marvin Sapp said it best, I’m stronger…I’m wiser, I feel better. So much better. The God I serve has blessed me with so many friends like you-some closer than others-but a blessing from God has no rank and only one value: priceless. Now you all are on your own for your third positive and don’t hold me responsible for your one negative.
Allow me to talk to you about gardening for a few minutes. If you have ever done any type of gardening, you know that, for one, it does take work to yield a desired result. It also takes an investment of time and patience to do that work. You must have the right working tools to work with in order to keep your garden thriving. Other than drought, a gardener’s worst enemy is the weed. A weed masquerades itself like a plant. It needs water and sunlight to survive, just like a plant. Many times, an unsuspecting gardener is providing care for weeds and doesn’t realize this fact until it’s too late. What do we know about these weeds?
Generally, weeds have absolutely no redeeming value as far as food, nutrition, or medicine are concerned. They multiply rapidly, are often poisonous if eaten, they taste bad, and they have thorns or other physical features that make them difficult to remove.
Weeds compete with beautiful flowers, grasses, and other beneficial plants for water, sunlight, and nutrients, and making them starve to death. They cause a growth imbalance in beneficial plants because they quickly absorb more of one nutrient than another.
Weeds compete for space. They appear as if they must be seen.
Weeds are parasitic. In some cases, they can attach themselves to neighboring plants and steal their nutrients.
If you haven’t caught on yet, let me help you out just a little bit. Some of Your So-Called Friends Are Weeds.
They have absolutely no redeeming value to your life. The more gullible people they talk to, the more rapidly they multiply. The more minds they poison. Their attitudes and dispositions become the thorns that make them difficult to be around.
When they are around, it seems as if they starve you of the essentials of positive living that you are more used to experiencing daily. Do you ever get that feeling of being choked when these so-called friends come around? Does the tenor of your conversation change around them?
When they are around, they absolutely must be seen and heard.
Some of them siphon from the necessities of life that you originally allocate to close family members… money, food, transportation, advice, time, and love.
When some of us read the first part of John 10:10, we take it for the face-value literal translation that we receive when we read it. “The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and destroy.” We take that to mean the stealing of worldly goods and possessions. We think of the physical killing of people. We think of the destruction of actual edifices and physical buildings. We don’t look deeper into it to see that the writer also meant that for those that steal, they rob us and others of the truth. While they are not speaking the truth, or the whole truth, they kill synergetic and kindred spirits among friends and brothers. They purposely destroy relation-ships…friend to friend, husband to wife, Master or Matron to the membership. Sir Knights and Princesses, the ENEMY himself is the source, but we are too blind, or as they say, “all into our feelings” to see it clearly.
Get out of your feelings. Wake up and see the destruction that you had a hand in, but caused by that so-called friend of yours who you thought was giving you good, sound advice, but actually was just spreading mess and gossip, much like a weed spreads its seeds and multiplies at a rapid rate. Kill your weeds. Yes, KILL YOUR WEEDS. Not by standard weapons of defense and harm, such as a firearm, knife, or some blunt object like a baseball bat or a frying pan. Once you recognize who the weeds are in your life, the best way to kill that weed is like this: ***pick up cell phone, slide ringer over to IGNORE*** Ignore the phone call from the weed. Block the number if you have to. Don’t nurture it by giving it the time or attention it needs to survive. We say “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine?” Don’t let YOUR light shine on the weed to help it grow. Let the weed find someone else to poison. If you must converse with the weed, combat it with truth. Don’t allow the weed to come to you and say, “I heard this from somebody…I won’t say who, but this is what I heard.” That is POISON attempting to spread POISON. Anyway, if what that “somebody” said was true, then they need to be MAN or WOMAN enough to say it to your face. Don’t lower your standards to hear it from someone else. Kill your weeds. Prune them out of your life. If they are not helping you to become a better person, why are you still listening to them? Why do you take their word over someone more credible? Why don’t you ask the direct questions yourselves? And better yet, why haven’t you told that weed of a friend that you are not having that from them anymore? You complain about what you allow when you have the power to stop it altogether.
Friends, let’s nurture each other. Let’s help each other rise to the next level. Let’s strengthen each other through prayer, advice, random acts of kindness, and love.
I conclude with this thought: Life is like a camera. FOCUS on what’s important. CAPTURE the good times. DEVELOP from the negatives. And if things don’t work out, TAKE ANOTHER SHOT.