How to Take Bad News and Flip It (or, My Major Fail)

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How to Take Bad News and Flip It

Have you ever wondered how to take bad news well, in a way that honors Jesus?

Yesterday, my husband and I got some bad news, and my instant reaction was definitely not honoring to Jesus. I thought I’d share my experience with you today, in case anybody else can identify and maybe learn from it as I am learning!

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    The story:

    Bruce and I have been waiting, praying, and working for breakthrough in a particular area for a very long time. YEARS. We had been led to believe (by the earthly powers that be) that breakthrough was imminent.

    The news we had been waiting for came yesterday. It wasn’t all bad; as a matter of fact, it was partially good. And I’m very grateful for the good part! (Thank You, Lord!) But it was not what we had been led to believe would happen.

    But here’s how I reacted:

    • I was so disappointed that I did not see the good part right away. As a matter of fact, I completely ignored the good part. I was too busy focusing on the bad part: the parts that didn’t come through; the unfairness; the lack; and the injustice. {Sigh.} {#majorfail}
    • So my first response was to get angry. Then I started researching ways we could stick up for ourselves, through the legal system or through other formal routes.
    • Then a friend at work asked me if I was ok, and I said no, and vented all my frustration. 🙁

    Then I was just plain discouraged:

    • partly because I knew my husband was discouraged, and it was unfair, and I couldn’t help him;
    • partly because I had looked forward to breakthrough, too; and
    • mostly because I had given my emotions over to anger and self-pity.


    After a few minutes, I began to hear the convicting whisper of the Holy Spirit. He was bringing all my ungodly reactions to my attention.

    Then I felt even worse, because I had sinned against the Lord and grieved the Holy Spirit by my terrible response to this bad news.

    So then I started repenting and trying to focus my attitude back on the Lord.

    Then I started feeling all condemned because I knew better, but had reacted so badly anyway. And then I had to reject that spirit of condemnation! (The Holy Spirit convicts, but never condemns. If you feel condemned, that’s not from the Lord.)

    Oh boy.

    Has anyone else ever been there?

    So what should I have done in the first place? What would have been the godly reaction? Great question; I’m so glad you asked.

    Here’s how to take bad news in a godly way (a.k.a. what I should have done in the first place):

    1. Remember that God is in control of every situation, not man. 

    His eye is on even the little sparrows; how much more is He watching over you? Psalm 138:8 says that God will perfect everything that concerns you. He loves you with an everlasting love, and He is your Provider, your Lawyer, your Advocate, your Helper, your Victory.

    2. Thank God for the good.

    Romans 1:21 tells us that unthankfulness is offensive to God. I was not thankful for the good part of our news, but I should have been. I have repented for my unthankfulness, and have begun to thank the Lord for the good. I really am grateful, and am so sorry I didn’t honor God enough to focus on His blessings.

    I apologized to the Holy Spirit, also, for grieving Him in that way.

    3. Flip the bad news into good. Recognize that bad news is just an opportunity for God to prove His sovereignty.

    Let God be true, and every man a liar (Romans 3:4). God’s promises are true. It’s not possible for God to lie. So the positive side of every piece of bad news is that this is an opportunity for God to work.

    So after I came to my senses, I began to pray like this:

    “Father, I know You will come through for us. Your Word says that You will provide for all our needs according to Your RICHES in Christ Jesus. You will take care of us. Your Word says that if we give, it will come back to us, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. We have given, so I ask that it would come back to us, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. I thank You, Father, for providing for us and that You will take care of us. Please do great and mighty things on our behalf (Jeremiah 33:3). I thank You, Father, that You will. In Jesus’ Name… amen.”

    The essence of how to take bad news and flip it is that we look at the truth of God’s Word, not the negativity of men. God is true, and His promises are His guarantees.

    So let’s grab hold of Papa God in faith, thank Him for His blessings, and claim His promises over our situations, shall we? We can believe God for breakthrough, and He has promised to take care of us.

    Have you received any bad news lately? If so, how can you take that bad news and flip it in your situation? I’d love to hear your thoughts; please leave a comment below.

    Image courtesy of pakorn /


    1. Katie Reynolds says:

      I can say I am improving in this area. Back in the day, following any rejection or perceived “negative” news, I would have a complete meltdown and bask in the pot of ” poor me”. Things are better today. I’m learning that how I feel doesn’t make it so. Like your podcast talked about, I’m learning to speak and pray only what God’s Word says no matter if my circumstances/ feelings are aligned at the time. Jamie, thank you for sharing your experience, strength, and hope. I enjoy your writing style. It’s as if we are standing together having this conversation one on one.

      1. Me too, Katie! Self-pity used to be my middle name. 🙁 Thank God that we’re not where we used to be, that’s for sure. And you’re welcome… thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! It means the world to me! I’m so glad you were blessed. 🙂

    2. April Ingersoll says:

      Thanks so much for this article. I usually re-act bad to “bad” news. And I am ashamed, but God reminds me of who He is and that He still loves me so much. God gives me strength to go thru. Then the next time something comes along I don’t like, I might still re-act wrong, but it doesn’t take me as long to re-align myself with what God’s Word says and He gives me the peace I need to go on. Maybe the next time I will re-act right at first! lol This article was a perfect reminder for me that everything goes thru God’s fingers before it comes to me. Wow! Think on that! That means He knows I can handle it with His help! And I’m sure it is something that I can grow from. Just reminds me how much I need the Lord. Thank you Jamie for sharing your life with us.

      1. Thank you, April, and I completely understand! I’m with you… every time I fail, after I get back up, I’m so grateful that at least it doesn’t take as long as it did last time. I thank God for His mercy in my life.

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