Believe the Good
The phenomenon of “negativity bias”—our tendency to believe bad news more easily than good, to feel rejection more deeply than affirmation, to focus on problems more than on blessings—creates enormous obstacles in our relationship with God. That explains why:
- we don’t feel forgiven even when God has made it clear that we are.
- even when God has answered a hundred prayers in the last month, the one that most affects our faith is the one he didn’t answer.
- we feel like illegitimate children of God’s kingdom.
- we are far more focused on what we’ve lost than what we’ve been given.
- when there are two or more possible explanations for people’s bad behavior, we likely tend to go ahead and judge them based on the worst one.
I’m convinced this is the number one reason so many people who believe the good news of God’s kingdom still aren’t living in joy, freedom, and fullness. We believe generally and in principle, not specifically in the extravagant claims of the gospel. We accept a worldview without applying it.
How can we get over our negativity bias? It will take practice—lots of it. But a few simple steps will work wonders: (1) Talk about the good stuff, and keep the bad stuff (complaining) to a minimum; (2) give thanks often; (3) believe the extravagantly good and beautiful truths of your new identity in Christ. Persist in these things, and you’ll begin to enjoy the freedom and fullness of the gospel.