Attitude is a word we kick around a lot, isn’t it? Should a Christian have a mostly positive attitude in life?
Chuck Swindoll has said, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.” That 90% is attitude. We can’t control the 10% that happens to us, be we can control how we respond. It’s very important to understand that attitude is a choice. You see, lots of us want to blame our attitudes on the circumstances or on other people. We say, “Yeah, well you wouldn’t have a good attitude if you had my job.” Or, “I’d be positive if it weren’t for my boss, or my husband, or my wife, or my children” – fill in the blank! Or “How do you expect me to be positive when I just lost my job?”
But think about it: Nobody can make you have a bad attitude—no matter how bad the situation is—if you don’t want to. And nobody can force you to have a good attitude—no matter how good the situation is—if you don’t want to. Your attitude is your choice.
In an age when we’ve taken the art of shifting blame to its highest levels, that may not sound good to your ears. It’s a lot easier to blame it on others and let yourself off the hook, but if you don’t face up to your responsibility for your own attitude, it will always control you and you’ll be in negative territory much of the time.
Bill Marriott of the Marriott Corporation is quoted as saying “We don’t hire people and ask them to be nice, we hire nice people.” What he recognizes is that training won’t turn employees into good performers if their attitudes are rotten. And that is so true.
When I taught customer service skills in the business world, I often felt a tinge of guilt as I urged people to stay positive when most of them didn’t have God’s power in them to help them do it. But for us Christians, we do have the incredible power of the Spirit of Christ, living within us, and that means we can do what otherwise would be difficult or impossible without him.
Nonetheless, there are many Christians who are just as negative as everybody else around them and that shouldn’t be. One of our unique witnesses to the world should be that in spite of the circumstances, we can be joyful and positive. We have something to be positive about. How can we claim that Jesus makes a difference now and for eternity if we’re always in negative mode?