Momma always said, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.”  We hear that a lot, don’t we?  I know my parents taught me that.  There’s no sense in being negative all the time.  Many times, when somebody is constantly being negative and critical, there’s something going on in their lives and they are simply taking it out on you.  The principle of transference is in play.  I try to be a “non-anxious presence” in those times, but even my patience wears thin.  However, I know I’m not perfect either.  I know there are times when I get negative as well.  I begin feeling a little jaded and may take it out on others also.  So, what do we do in those times?  What do we do when the negativity starts to take over?  Well, it begins with an examination of our hearts.

In today’s Matthew reading, the Pharisees come up to Jesus, and they want to know why his disciples do not follow the traditions of the forefathers.  They believed that his disciples were doing things that made them unclean.  But Jesus points out that our uncleanliness does not come what we put into our system, but what comes out of our mouths.

Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.  But the words you speak come from the heart – that’s what defiles you (Matthew 15:17-18).

What’s going on in your heart today?  Do you find yourself being critical and negative about anything that comes along?  Are you trying to drag others down so that they are just as miserable?  Then maybe you need to take a minute and examine your heart.  The world is as we see it.  If you want to find the negative, then you will find it – no matter how small.  And then you will magnify it so that it is the only thing you see.  What is going on in your heart that makes you want to see the world in this way?  And how can you give  over those circumstances to God so that your heart will not be filled with the poison of hatred and negativity?