In every career and in all stages of life, striving for continual improvement is a good thing. Evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of processes and tasks can lead to completing everything with excellence. This is a good thing and as followers of Christ, we are called to do everything to the best of our ability for the purpose of bringing Him glory (Colossians 3:23-24). Personally, however, I know that this striving can lead to a critical nature overshadowing my ability to see the good in others and I don’t think I’m alone. We are quick to see and point out the negatives and shortcomings of others, but so much slower to point out the good we see in them.
We live in a world forever polluted by sin and we should confront sin with love and truth, but that shouldn’t prevent us from choosing to see the good in people. Even with the tainting of sin, God has created us all in His image and designed us to reflect who He is to the world around us (Genesis 1:26-27). God chooses to see us as His beloved children who He has made “good” through the sacrifice of His Son in spite of our faults that are so much easier to see. He continues to show us our gifts, passions, and potential, instead of only identifying our failures.
I know for me, I want to intentionally seek to see the good in people. I want to love them as they are, as Christ loves us where we are at. When this happens, we are better able to help others. When someone knows that you see beyond their shortcomings, they are far more likely to listen and receive help from their friend. When we don’t let the bad overtake the good, we will be able to truly encourage and help others grow in their faith. We will find joy in being this type of friend.
Edward Welch writes in Side by Side, “as you get to know people, you will encounter many hard things, some unattractive things, but if you also see good, you will see people more as God does, and that is a blessing.”
So how do we curb the negativity and replace it with a filter of Christ?
Notice character qualities. When someone expresses fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. (Galatians 5:22-23), point it out and celebrate it. Even when these characteristic reflections of Christ are brief and are displayed in conjunction with sin, they shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Notice gift and talents. Everyone has skills and gifts that God has given to them. The church should be the place that people feel most supported to express these gifts. When someone steps out of their comfort zone to use a gift to serve within the local church, let’s be quick to build up our brother or sister in Christ.
Celebrate spiritual victories. From being faithful to seek prayer to getting excited about scripture, spiritual growth and vitality should be commended. If a friend points out to me a verse that has been on their heart, I want it to bring me genuine joy and cause me to celebrate their reflection of Christ.
I desire to be quicker to see others as our loving Savior does. When we strive to see the good in others, our love and affection for people will grow. When we check the critical attitude, people are more likely to let us help with the hard stuff and we will better enjoy the helping.