When some people see a light at the end of the tunnel, they assume it’s an oncoming train. Their autopilot function is instant negativity. This beyond a glass is half full or half empty. This is a fatalistic world view that impedes progress in both individuals and groups.
People living in chronic poverty (both economic and spiritual) are trapped not only by external circumstances but also by their own disbelief that life can be any better. There is a reason why the message of Jesus Christ is called “Good News” (gospel means good news).
Paul about the Christian’s attitude:
“…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
Christian leaders need to bring a message of hope to a people who are depressed and defeated; a message that echoes the Word of God: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2 & Matthew 4:16)
Both hope and despair are contagious. Leaders can influence which attitude will control the future. Lead from the front by encouraging people who are excited about their faith and are making things happen. Avoid spending too much time trying to please negative people. You can wind up losing focus on the mission.
I’m not saying that complaints ought to be ignored. Leaders need to listen carefully and act appropriately but it is the people with positive attitudes who have the vision and capacity to make whatever adjustments might be needed. The chronically negative, on the other hand, will never be satisfied.
Chronic negativity is a spiritual problem. It demonstrates a lack of faith that God is winning. It doubts that, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Only the Holy Spirit can defeat the spirit of pessimism that impoverishes the souls of people who give in to despair.
Leaders that God uses have a Holy Spirit driven vision of a future where God is in control and expanding the Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. They believe in the power of prayer. They see setbacks and obstacles not as defeat but as challenges to overcome and problems to solve. They believe, “I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31