Back in the 1980’s, my husband and I were doing a job in the Southern United States. We had the assistance of two elderly gentlemen who had a great work ethic. A younger man, the son of the owner of the company, came out and loudly began criticizing the two gentlemen. He proceeded to tell us how to treat them, to “motivate” them to do the job right. My husband told him we were pleased with how they were performing and the young man went back into the office. We asked the two men how it was that could put up with that behavior without losing their cool. One replied, “We just don’t pay him no never mind.” That has stuck with me all these years and I strive to live up to their example.
It is not easy to do, my friends. We all know someone who is like that young man. Someone who is forceful when it is not necessary. Someone who complains and criticizes. Someone who seems to be unaware that their behavior is destructive and that when others see them coming, they cross to the other side of the street to avoid a confrontation or getting sucked into the drama.
If I look at life from their perspective, I see how really sad and unfulfilling it is. How awful it must be to not have anyone who is glad to see you, and avoids you because you are only seeing the negative. They live in despair and disappointment. They are never really happy and that is a sad and shallow way to live. Joel Osteen said, “If you lose your joy every time something negative happens to you, the enemy will make sure you always have somebody or something in your life that’s going to keep you sour.”
You know the face you make when you eat something sour? Picture it. Remember when your Mom told you to be careful making that face because it just might stick? Well that is what these poor negative people have done. They have been negative for so long, the sour face has stuck!
How do we behave like the two older gentlemen and pay them no never mind? We need to switch our focus from the sour to the Power. The Power of the Holy Spirit. Maybe there are on our path right now to toughen us up, teach us to have some endurance and not to run from everything that is hard, uncomfortable, or inconvenient. God may have put that person in our life right now to teach us to trust Him and see if we will remain peaceful and calm.
God commands us in 1 Thes. 5:16-18 [NIV], “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Verse 19 [NLT] God also commands us to “not stifle the Holy Spirit.” He commands. He directs authoritatively. His command gives us the power to have mastery over sour. God commands by saying, be, pray, and give. Not if we feel like it, or if everything is going our way or any other lame excuse. It is a direct order. Be, pray, give. We do that by not stifling the power of the Holy Spirit who is helping us from within.
It is our job as the salt and the light to be the shinning example how to use the Power over sour to the sour ones in our lives. Maybe that is why they are there in our life at this time. We are the one who is going to help them overcome, through our being joyful always, praying for them continually, and giving thanks for this circumstance.
In my own life, I’ve added praise on the phrase. Joy, pray, thanks, and praise. Because when I praise God for being who He is and that He loves me and helps me every single moment, of very single day, it keeps my focus on Him, on His mercy and grace and not on the negative and sour.
I ask God what His will is in the situation I find myself in with the negative, sour person. I ask Him to help me help them by paying their bad attitude no never mind, but looking past that to see them as someone who was also created in God’s image, deserving of love, and not to be avoided. I don’t want to add to their existing sadness.
Our new slogan is Power over sour! Sing it out with me and pay it no never mind!
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