A great deal of the input we receive from this world is negative, and it invites us to participate. One particularly cynical girl in my old high school talked a lot, but rarely said anything positive—and she was not unpopular for it. In fact, she really seemed to attract many people…who were also cynical. It’s amazing to watch how many people will readily gravitate toward bad advice, bad direction, and bad attitude.
It’s naturally contagious, because a fallen world is filled with plenty of tragedy, bitterness, anger and fear to go around. But it’s also spiritual death—it is a waste of time and energy to constantly wallow in pity, selfishness, and discontent. There is no life in these things—they steal life away from us.
So what is the cure? Psalm 1:1 says it this way: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.”
The first key is restraint. It’s important that we learn to avoid and resist ideas that offer us less than the content and fulfilled life God has called us to. Every situation becomes an invitation to see things this old world’s way or God’s way. We need to recognize those moments for what they really are and keep our hearts from giving in to negativity. God calls this kind of living “blessed,” partly because it lets us throw off the kind of cynical and unhealthy thinking that weighs our generation down.