“I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness.”
What we look for, we see. What we expect, we tend to find.
It’s a rule.
Expect the worst in people, we tend to find it.
Anticipate the best, we tend to evoke it.
“I am fully convinced that you are full of goodness.”
The statement floors me.
And I even perceive myself as being fairly optimistic about life, about people.
Some would quickly qualify the statement by pointing out that it’s Paul’s “brothers and sisters” he’s referring to – Christians.
Now the statement really floors me!
Too often I have seen followers of Christ excel in the art of shredding others – especially one another.
So yes, this floors me. Still.
“To the pure all things are pure, but to the defiled and disbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and conscience are filthy,” Paul intones in another place.
Filthy filters produce filthy images of others, images that are anything but full of goodness.
So how are those “people filters” through which I gaze at the world?
What is my basic assumption about that person driving in front of me – or riding way too close behind me?
How do I see that soul sitting across from me?
And even more foundationally, what basic assumptions do I carry about the face staring back at me in the mirror – for that reflection is perhaps the most revealing gauge for the filter of my gaze.
If the world stinks, just where do you think the stink starts?
Brant Hansen relates in his book Unoffendable (get it. read it. live it.) –
Chris was elated at his find one time, and he enthusiastically showed it to me. It was a pile of flattened cardboard boxes he’d gotten from a dumpster. Seriously, he was overjoyed.
“This is the good stuff, my friend!” he told me. “Look at this!”
The good stuff?
I guess it was. Weeks later, he showed me a crèche he’d made, life-size: Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. It was painted with small flags from around the world, to demonstrate the relevance of Christ to the modern world in the midst of nations and wars.
When he told me it was made out of cardboard, I couldn’t believe it. It looked as though it were chiseled from white stone. He’d made it from the “good stuff” – you know, from the dumpster.
Chris is an artist. He just sees things.
Give us more artist eyes that can gaze upon dumpster discards and see crèches.
Eyes that are convinced you are full of goodness just waiting to be evoked, empowered, released, unleashed.
If you see beauty in the world, just where do you think that beauty starts?