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The perils of "positive thinking"
- Jacob Ninan
There are positive aspects about positive thinking. But if we don't understand them rightly, we may get caught in some wrong ways of thinking positively. The right way is to believe in God and His promises, and to hold on to the conviction that He loves us supremely, He is fully in control of everything that happens to us and He will work out all things for our good (Ro.8:28). This gives us a positive outlook on life, even in the midst of difficulties.
On the other hand, there are wrong ways of "positive thinking."
1. "If only we keep on thinking that what we want is going to happen, it will happen." This is just mental exercise, and it has no power to change situations.
2. "If we ask God for something, and we tell ourselves constantly that God is going to answer that prayer, He will." Actually God's promise for an answer is only if we ask according to His will (1Jn.5:14).
3. "We must not allow negative thoughts to be in our mind. They are contrary to faith." If we are thinking of doubts about God or His promises, this is right. But if we are referring to commonsense that questions our assumptions, we need to listen to it if we don't want to do things foolishly.
4. "We must not allow negative thoughts about ourselves." Recognising our sins and repenting from them are absolutely necessary for our salvation. The shame and sorrow that these actions give us will do us good (2Co.7:10,11). On the other hand, thinking that we are useless, hopeless, etc., is wrong.