We all know people who are constantly criticising others, grumbling, complaining and being negative. ‘X never has a good word to say about anyone,’ we realise. Such negativity is oddly contagious, and we can easily become negative people ourselves.
At the present time, there is much negativity and fear all around, especially as people struggle to come to terms with the potential implications of Covid-19, a ‘new virus’ which leaves us uncertain and often afraid. Negativity and panic seem to be flourishing all around; remaining steadfast and sensible seems to be largely impossible.
The three wise monkeys in the story ‘see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil.’ Whilst they are often portrayed as being in the wrong (e.g. they turn a blind eye to wrongdoing), the principle of taking care what we see, listen to, say and do is wholly Biblical. Paul is particularly concerned with our thought life, saying ‘whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.’ (Phil 4:8) If we do that, negativity goes out of the window. That doesn’t mean situations automatically become favourable or easier, but it does mean we are anchored to the positive truth that God cares for us and is in control, no matter what our visible situations tell us.