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Why Christians Should Beware the Trap of Toxic Positivity

Take care that you don’t tell someone to be warmed and filled if you aren’t willing to give them a warm blanket and a hot meal. Don’t gloss over the pain of injusticebetrayal, or any of the hardships of life by reciting lines from greeting cards. In that case, it’s better to say nothing.

Have the Courage to Be Real.

Despite what it might sound like, I’m not trying to suck all the optimism out of the room. So please don’t read this post as permission to be overly negative and critical in the name of “authenticity.” In fact, it’s equally dangerous to be toxically negative.

And you certainly shouldn’t walk around like a basket case, unloading all of your emotional problems on any unfortunate passerby. We’re called to encourage one another, not to simply wallow in our pain together.

But encouragement isn’t the same as just saying something nice. True encouragement comes when we enter into a painful moment, acknowledge the weight of that pain without dismissing it, and then point to the hope we have in Jesus.

So I encourage you to practice empathy. Be aware of your feelings and the feelings of others. Running from them or covering them with feigned positivity is to refuse God’s grace.

And that’s because it’s the grace of Jesus that carries our burdens. Jesus carries the burdens of our sins. And he carries the burdens of every hurtful thing that we have a tendency to hold onto. Toxic positivity stuffs our burdens deeper into our backpack. Biblical hope gives them to Jesus.

This article originally appeared here