Mountain bikers sometimes encounter large rocks in the middle of a single-track path. If they concentrate on the rock, they hit it and take a tumble. But experienced bikers learn to focus on a route beside the obstacle. This allows them to miss the rock and keep going.
Our focus should be on the good and true, the noble and pure. This doesn’t mean we never experience a sad thought or feel angry about injustice, but we don’t get mired in these modes – we remain agile. Through a positive outlook we learn to adjust and move on with life, knowing that in the end God will make all things right.
If we focus on past hurts, we become bitter. If we focus on frustrations, we become irritable. If we focus on grievances, we ourselves become hateful. In his book Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness, Jerry Cook comments on this perspective.
I’ve seen husbands and wives live together as though they were vultures. He’s perched over here and she’s perched over there and they meet in an arena between. Each is just waiting for the other to make a mistake so he or she can lash out. Have you learned yet that people tend to live up to your expectations of them? Just perch there watching for your husband or wife to blow it again and you probably won’t have to wait too long.
“My husband is never on time for anything,” a woman said to me. “And he is always in a bad mood. He has never been able to handle money either.” She went down a list of about 15 things that her husband “always” or “never” did.
When she finished I said, “You undoubtedly have the most consistent husband I’ve ever heard of. You have been married for 24 years and this guy has made totally wrong decisions all that time – quite a record.”
You get the point and so did she. What are you looking for? You will find it.
“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” ~ Philippians 4:8-9, NRSV
By focusing on the positive qualities in others, our lives begin demonstrating these qualities as well. When we focus on finding love, we become more loving. When we focus on finding mercy, we become compassionate. When we focus on finding blessings, we become grateful.
Father in heaven, thank you for seeing the best in me even when I’ve been at my worst. I pray that I can take your example and use it in my daily interactions with others. Amen.