One famous Houston pastor wrote a book titled ‘Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your life Every Day’ which quickly became a best seller. The main point of the book is to know that God loves us, wants us to be happy and to remove the bitterness in our heart, to realize our value, to have a positive attitude and to choose happiness in life. I read the book. The content was good, but I was somewhat uncomfortable because the illustrations, in my opinion, were too much toward the pursuit of worldly success.
His sermons are along those same lines. Accept oneself in a positive way, love oneself, and do not be disappointed when things do not turn out right, for God will make things right. Because of that, there are many who criticize him. In his sermon, he rarely talks about sin, Jesus or the cross, and he emphasizes ‘prosperity and successes’ as God’s only blessing, his critiques say. They also claim that is not a correct theology. Because of such criticism, talking about positive thinking or happiness for Christians became a taboo subject.
However, I want to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with having a positive attitude and a joyful heart. The academic world already confirmed the benefit of positive thinking. Positive thinking increases flexibility of thought process, improves creativity and problem solving abilities, and boosts memory and concentration. As a result, it enhances overall comprehension ability. This was reported as the ‘dopamine effect’ and many scholars support this view.
Also, positive thinking pattern is known to be very helpful in improving human relationships. A positive person views others in a positive light. He/she tends to be kind, as a result, is active in building relationships and tends to perform services for others or to do charity work and is known as a ‘good’ person. Not only that, a positive atmosphere fosters taking initiatives and challenges. A negative person tends to settle for usual tasks and is afraid of unfamiliar ground. On the other hand, a positive person has a tendency to seek new challenges by taking initiatives which increases his/her chances of success.
‘Positive thinking’ as the world claims, however, can be merely self-hypnosis. When the self does not change, the thinking stays only as thought and the positive personality does not materialize. The transformation is not possible without the help of God. When we meet Jesus and the Holy Spirit lives in us, this results in changes in inner person and we can become positive persons.
It is quite sad to see many of us who met Jesus but could not overcome the habit of negative thinking. We who have accepted Jesus should develop a positive spirit toward ourselves, things happening to us and the world around us and should become more adventurous and joyful people.
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