I hope I’m not being judgmental by writing this blog post. I admit that I have had negative attitudes before. I have complained about many things before. I had started a complain or joined a group of people who were complaining.
But last weekend, I went to a retreat and realized that attitude is contagious and there are things in my life I need to repent before God.
During the retreat, I led one challenge where people had to eat not so pleasant food without complaining.
Here’s the list of food.
1. Half cut watermelon (hands behind their back)
2. 1 spoon of Cinnamon
3. Dry Oatmeal
4. Fresh cut lime
5. Banana and Sprite
6. Crackers with wasabi
7. Popcorn with chili powder
8. Cake and coke (Everyone)
Each team member had to come and ate whatever was put in front of them. They couldn’t choose what they wanted to eat or they would loose points. They had to finish their food and every complain they made, they would lose points. Sounds cruel? Well, too bad, life is cruel.
I learned from that experience that there are three groups of people in life. I know I am generalizing by putting people into three categories, but this is a typical human reaction to unpleasant situations.
This group is what I would call “When life gives you lemon, make lemonade” people. They are optimistic.
During the eating challenge, some people were laughing like crazy and cheering for their team members to finish their food. It only took 3-4 people with positive attitude and their positive energy was contagious. Did they like to eat those food? Of course not! As they tried to finish their unpleasant food, they had to try not to choke because they were laughing so hard. People whom I thought they would never eat those food not only finished, but they were even laughing and having a great time. Again positive attitude is contagious.They overcame an unpleasant situation by their positive attitudes.
This group have passive people.
Some people finished this challenge with no complaints. Some were calm but I think they took things more seriously than they were supposed to be. Some had a few tears; they didn’t complain but they took everything in. I hope they could move on from this unpleasant experience.
This group have complaining people. They complain about everything. They suck joy out of people around them and manipulate others to share their negative attitude.
During the eating challenge, it took only two people who complained about everything and I was getting annoyed by it. I had to remind myself to think about the first group of people who gave positive energy to me.
In the Bible, we read about people with negative attitude. The Israelites did a lot of complaining about Moses, Aaron, and even God. In Numbers 13, Moses sent 12 spies to explore Canan. The negative attitude of 10 spies was so contagious that it spread to the whole community (Numbers 13:32). Well, we know what happened to the Israelites. The older generation with the negative attitudes missed God’s promised land.
Like the 10 spies, how many times did I spread the negative attitudes to people around me? How many times did I lead others to sin because of my negative attitude? How many times did I encourage others to complain?
I am preaching to myself…complaining is sin. It is self-centered. It is contagious. Don’t spread to others.