I like an optimist. I also like a realist. Above all, I like an honest man. I like a person who faces the truth whether it is good or bad, and is honest enough to admit it. A person who refuses to face the truth puts himself beyond help. That is why I believe I should acknowledge the negative, but accentuate the positive. By accentuating the positive, I find a negative situation is often reversed.
Now, having confessed there is power in positive thinking, let me tell you what I'm negative on.
I am negative on pretending.
I am negative on pretending something is there that isn't there.
I am negative on pretending something isn't there that is there.
I am negative on exaggerating ... which is a form of pretending.
Negativity About Exaggeration
Let me talk about exaggerating first. Someone has said, "It ain't bragging if you done it!" Maybe ... but if you didn't do it, and you say you did it, you have gone beyond bragging and are guilty of exaggeration. A person who accentuates the positive as it concerns his actual accomplishments can be a bore ... even if he is speaking the truth. But when he gets "evangelistic" about what he has done, and claims something happened that never happened ... then we make a mental note that his word is not to be trusted. (I was going to say that such a person "stretches the truth," but then I realized that that would be a self-contradictory statement inasmuch as truth is no longer truth when it is stretched.)
What I am saying is that it is one thing to accentuate what is true, and quite another thing to accentuate what is not true. God has asked me to glorify Him, but He has not asked me to lie for Him. Exaggeration may enhance my reputation one way or another, but it certainly doesn't gain glory for God. Exaggeration is unbecoming to a believer ... be it negative or positive.
Negativity About Pretending
I'm negative on pretending something is there that is not there. If I say I believe there is healing in the atonement, I'm accentuating a positive. If I say I am healed of blindness, and then fall down the stairs because I cannot see, I am accentuating my self-delusion ... which is a negative. If I say I'm going to put my trust in the Lord for healing, that is a positive that brings glory to God. But if I say the fever isn't there when the mercury is knocking the top out of the thermometer, then I'm practicing Christian Science ... which is a negative ... and God gets no glory out of it.
I'm negative on pretending something isn't there that is there. I have only admiration for those who refuse to think and speak in negatives. The Bible is explicit about thinking on those things that are good and constructive. Pessimism and skepticism are destructive forces. They are detrimental to the walk in the Spirit.
But it is one thing to refuse to think and speak negatively, and quite another thing to say there are no negatives. I would rather hear a preacher talk about heaven than hell, but it would disturb me greatly if he claimed there is no hell. I am all for holiness and blameless living, but I am living dangerously if I say I have no sin. To do so is to make God a liar. However, to confess that He has forgiven my sin is a positive confession and one that brings glory to His name.
I would like to believe that there is no devil, but if I pretend that he's not there, does that make him nonexistent? No, brother! Hell, sin, sickness and sorrow are very real.
We don't have to accentuate them ... we don't have to exaggerate them ... but neither should we deny their existence.
"True," you say, "they are there, but by positive confession they are not there for me." No, friend, that's where you are wrong, and that's where you are doing God a disservice. There can be no healing if there is no sickness. There can be no deliverance if there is no danger. There can be no holiness if there is no sin to cleanse away. There can be no positive if there is no negative.
The Importance of Negativity
That is why it is important that I acknowledge the negative. I don't have to accentuate it. I don't have to exaggerate it. But I must... if you will... confess it, because pretending it isn't there only leaves me vulnerable to it. The victory of the cross was that it was over something very real... over sin and death. To refuse to acknowledge sin and death is to make the cross meaningless. The same is true about my sickness. To say that I am healed of something that doesn't exist is to make a farce out of the fact that I am healed. How can I claim healing if there was no disease? And again, why do I need the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome if there is nothing to battle? If God has removed all temptation and all sickness and all sorrow ... where is the triumph of the overcomer?
I believe in accentuating the positive. I believe there is power in positive thinking. But I don't believe in pretending. I refuse to pretend that something is there when it is not there, and I refuse to pretend that something is not there when I know good and well that it is there! In other words, I believe in being positively honest!