Dealing with Negative People

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One of the things that I have discovered as a pastor is, just like bad toxins can infect a health human body, negative people have a way of infecting the church. After being exposed to negative people, some healthy people become sick.

Everyone hopes and prays that the negative individual will get help and change their ways... some of them do, unfortunately some of them don't. Yes, with prayer, love and care, an unhealthy person can become healthy. However, some negative people become so toxic that they have a way of infecting others around them... taking the main focus off of Jesus Christ and His calling for the church and places the focus on the agenda of the negative/toxic individual.

As a pastor, church leader, Christian, etc.... you can do one of two things. You can either address the toxic person and give him/her an opportunity to change or you can sit around and watch the Church become sick and die.

So, the big question is... how do you identify toxic people? You may think it is an easy thing, "All you have to do is see those within your church who are always negative and trying to destroy the church and boot them out!" Sometimes, I wish it was as easy as that, but it is not.

So here are some signs to identify negative people before it is too late...

1. The Big Show... These are people who come across a little over-powering, as though they are saying, "I am in town, this is who I am, hear me!" There is nothing wrong with being confident in who you are and what you can do, but when it comes to one glorifying one's self above all else... I worry.

2. This is the way you should do it... These people will tell you from the very beginning how you should change your service, your way of pastoring, your life, etc. I usually ask myself the question, "Are there ways I need to change?" If you are real with yourself, there are always ways that one can better themselves. However, this "advice" is something that is better accepted over time... as you get to know each other. Usually, when someone comes to me, right out of the gates, with "advice" on how I should change, I usually say, "Thank you... we may not be the church for you."

3. My Opinion, before anyone else’s... We all have our own opinion on areas of life, ministry, church, etc. Usually, the right thing to do is to save your opinion until you are asked to share it. Toxic people have a way of just volunteering their own opinions whether welcomed or not. There is a big difference in giving your opinion and sharing your opinion in a humble and respectful manner, respecting and being compassionate to others.