Are we predisposed to look for the negative?
Or is it just easier to linger on the negative?
You could give a speech to a room full of 200 people.
And you know you nailed it; hit it out of the park; scored a touchdown; … I’m running out of analogies…
The people who heard you agree, too.
One by one, they talk about how inspiring your speech was; how informational; how powerful; how funny; how engaging.
You get a 199 of those compliments then there’s that one person who didn’t particularly agree with you and let you know that they didn’t quite like it, but good job.
You sort of shake it off. You’re a bit spent from all the emotions and adrenaline that comes with giving a talk in front of people.
But you get in the car — and you think, what was that person’s deal…?
Then at night, as you’re lying in bed hoping to fall asleep soon, where does your mind go? To the 199 compliments? No, to that one voice that didn’t like your talk.
What was wrong with it?
Maybe I shouldn’t have said that… maybe I shouldn’t have taken that long for the intro… maybe I should’ve added that story I took out… maybe I should’ve worn different clothes…
We do that with people, places, and things.
It’s seemingly easier to find fault with someone or something than finding the strengths.
The truth is, we will find what we look for. All the time.
If you’re convinced that your neighbor is a no-good-nobody — guess what? All you’re going to find in that person is validation and affirmation of your no-good-nobody assessment.
We will always find what we are looking for.
It’s funny to think how much society and culture have changed throughout the ages but how little humanity has.
I assume that the people Paul dealt with also — like us — had perspective challenges.
I assume that based on these words:
From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 (CEB, emphasis mine)
Think about the things are true, pure, just, excellent, admirable…
Things that I feel like goes against our natural tendencies — otherwise it wouldn’t seem so difficult and Paul wouldn’t have instructed folks to do so.
It does feel like work to focus on the good.
It feels natural to focus on the negative.
But we will always find what we are looking for.
So let’s look for the good; for hope; for beauty; for life; for love.
Because there is good in the world. For, God created it and called it good.
There is beauty in the world and in the people that occupy said world.
If we don’t see it, it’s because we’re not looking for it.
And if there truly is no good — then be the good that you are looking for.