The other day, my husband came home from work needing to find a document. We had a vague idea where it was, but we knew it was gonna take a little effort. Needless to say He then spent hours turning the things upside down to try and locate this 1 piece of paper. He did eventually find it… after hours of searching and cleaning and unpacking boxes that we haven’t unpacked in 6 years.
Ok – so that’s a silly example but we do tend to find exactly what we are looking for – whether it’s a lost item at home, a particular theme in a book you’re reading or a character trait in a person…
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about our mutual love of escaping into stories. Whether it be a book or a movie, we both love losing ourselves in the story. As we were discussing this, she kind of sheepishly admitted to the book she was currently reading – partly because of the theme’s contained in the book… I won’t disclose what it was but it opened up a conversation about story themes. I have heard my fair share of arguments from other Christians as to why certain books are not ok to read while others, with similar themes, are. I’ve felt the need to justify my reasons for reading something, or even letting my kids read something because someone else decided that it contained things that a christian shouldn’t be reading.
I have come to realise that we see what we want to see in stories… If you are looking for evil and darkness and pain and suffering – you are likely to find it…most stories contain some kind of version of these themes… But if you are looking for goodness, kindness and even allegories resembling the gospel, it is likely you would find them too.
Now – I am not saying that go away and fill our heads with all kinds of rubbish – there’s plenty of that out there – I’m just trying to make the point that if we are looking for something particular that gives us an excuse to pick it apart, we will find it.
This verse from Phillipians 4:8 comes to mind actually:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I have also come to realise this is something we do in relationships. We kind of make our minds about a person…and then find those character traits in them to suit our own image of who they are.
Maybe you have done this… Decided that there was a teacher you just didn’t like the look of, and so no matter what they did, all you could see were the things that rubbed you the wrong way. Maybe you’ve had this reaction to you from someone else. A person has just decided they didn’t like you and no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t change their minds.
I think this happens more than we realise – even in existing relationships. We can find ourselves focussing on the negative things and completely ignore any good. This can cause a relationship to tailspin – and the thing is… there will always be something negative because no one is perfect. No one but Jesus!
But as this verse above instructs us – we do have the ability to turn that around. Yes, sometimes that means we have to change our mindset and our vocabulary. We need to make decisions to see the best in others – or one step further – to call out the best in others. We need to decide to focus on the good and the positive in someone.
Genesis 1:27 says this
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
God created mankind in His image – All of mankind… No one is exempt from that. We need to be careful about what we say of others and how we treat them – because they are, just as much as we are, God’s children and He has called us to love…
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails…
I don’t know about you – but I want to be someone who sees the best in others; who looks for and finds the best in others. Someone who champions people to be the best that they can be!