foolThe famous evangelist of the mid 1800’s, D.L. Moody, was not famous for his sophistication. He relentlessly butchered the English language, which made the high society folks cringe. Of all his great accomplishments, a personal education and polished speech were not part of them.

It happened that in a large tent revival meeting, a person of high society was in attendance and was appalled at Moody’s language and demeanor. Unable to bear it any longer, this person took a piece of paper, wrote the word, “FOOL” and gave it to an usher to be handed to the evangelist. Mr. Moody opened the note and read it and said, “This is one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me! I have had many letters before from people that forgot to sign their name, but this is the first time someone has ever signed their name but forgot to write the letter.”

Well, critics come and critics go, and those being criticized have an option to let it affect them negatively or positively. D.L. Moody was certainly undaunted by criticism.

fool3In the face of his critics he would continue his work, and his evangelistic influence would be worldwide and even continues today. His is a life that should inspire each of us to continue with our life’s purpose no matter what.

Each one of us has purpose and worth and things that we desire to accomplish. And each of us have emotions that can be played upon by circumstances and by other people who throw up waves of reasons why we shouldn’t do what we are doing. There are plenty of nay-sayers out there that have the single purpose in life of making sure no one else has an easy road to travel. Look closely at these kinds of folks and you will usually see they are ones who have never attempted or accomplished much in their own life.

But I’m not going down a negative road today. Nope, life is too short and there are plenty of negative attitudes to go around. But we wouldn’t know about the nature of negative if the positive weren’t so positive. Have you ever tried to start a car without the negative post on the battery? For all those “mechanically challenged” of us, it will not work that way.

To a degree, we need the negative in life also. The positive of the negative of life is that our situations can be charged and energized by the negative. The positive is our goal and it is shiny and attractive and we know we can have it! If someone calls you out or discourages you when you know what you are pursuing is right, it should motivate you to push through and secure that positive, shiny result you know is there. Michael Jordan has said, “If you accept the expectations of others, especially the negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.”

fool6If a good plan fails and there seems to be no hope, look for the alternate plan, the one that will change the outcome. History is filled with examples of successful people that refused to give up. Abraham Lincoln failed numerous times to be elected to public office and he is considered one of our greatest presidents. Elvis Presley was told he could not sing; the Beatles were criticized for their music. Charles Wesley, the writer of thousands of our familiar hymns, was attacked for his new form of worship music. We could go on and on; we all know the stories.

I suppose my point today is simple. We can be positive influences or negative influences on others. We can allow negative words and situations take us out, or we can struggle to find the positive in every situation. I had a boss once who liked to quote the old axiom, “If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything.” That’s good advice to live by.

fool4I believe the negative spreaders are people who think themselves just a cut above all the rest. They usually start their sentences with “I”. They need to be reminded of what Margaret Mead said, “Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everyone else.”

The Bible puts it this way, “Let everyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall,” and “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

So be encouraged when the negative arises. Don’t let it get you off track. You need it to show you how positive the positive can be.