So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.Romans 14:13 (NLT)
Burnout is a very real issue for those in ministry. No, it’s not necessarily the workload – though it does seem a bit insane from time-to-time. It’s that the workload consists of a lot of negativity. People complain about this or that. Others spread rumors about other people in the congregation or the pastoral team. Still, others teach or introduce other people to bad theology or conspiracy theories which cause a rift in the church. For many pastors and elders, this is the bulk of stuff they have to deal with on a regular basis and it wears them down.
In reality negativity doesn’t just make work-life that much more difficult, it also contributes to health issues. An article in Forbes magazine highlighted how being surround by negativity wrecks one’s immune system. This causes a host of health issues including higher risk for infections and diseases, increased stress levels, high blood pressure, and on-and-on. In other words, negativity is literally killing us.
The Apostle Paul, who was no stranger to negative people, had some great insight for us when he wrote, “So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” In other words, lay off the negativity, lashing out, gossiping, slandering, judging, condemning, and a whole host of other negative ways we treat others.
As we’ve studied before, the two greatest commandments are 1) Love God, and 2) Love others. Being negative and critical towards others accomplishes neither of these two.
So, how do we move from negative to positive? Get closer to the source of all love – Jesus. Let His positive spirit rub off on you. Give thanks for who he is, what he has done, and what he promises to do. Encourage others. Look for the good in them and what they are doing. Compliment them. And, here’s the big one: If you see a problem, be part of the solution. Complaining about it doesn’t resolve it. Passing it on to someone else to deal with doesn’t help. Be part of the solution. Take ownership. And, in a positive spirit, help make it better.