You See What You Are Looking For

May 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Personal Growth

I remember once in a conference the speaker talked about how people see what they are looking for. He said if they’re looking for the negative, that’s what they see and if they’re looking at the same person or situation for the good, that is what they see—you see what you’re looking for! I have learned…he was right.

Our support and encouragement of people should not come and go like hair styles and trends. Do you find yourself vacillating in relationships from the role of supportive friend/helper to disgruntled—looking for the negative counterpart? One day you are the spring gently feeding new life into the river of friendship and the next you are like the tornado that twists small transgressions into unrecognizable bits of truth, hearsay and back-biting.

Before removing your support, changing your mind and view of someone ask yourself, “Are my thoughts in line with the character I know this person to have? In the recent past have I offered a word of encouragement or an act of kindness? Have I asked this person if there was anything specifically that I could pray for on his behalf? What is your motivation—would you want the same conversation to take place about yourself? If you have not done these things, be careful. You have not fulfilled the law of kindness to the one whose character, self-esteem and possible livelihood you may be destroying.

Remember how Hagar ridiculed Sarah and Sarah ended up sending her away? What an example of how our words and attitudes can have widespread repercussions.  In contrast, think of Jesus and the woman at the well. His words were used to lovingly reprove and brought about healing. One woman was removed from her master’s house; the other was welcomed into the Master’s kingdom.

It may help you to write down two or three positive attributes of the person you think negatively about. Seek God for forgiveness and thank Him for those attributes on behalf of that individual. Then when the right opportunity comes along be as quick to affirm that person as you were to being negative.  Thank God for the opportunity to encourage.  What better way do we have to be Christ-like than to build up one another?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive me for looking down on Your creation with negative thoughts. Please help me to honor You with the words of my mouth and may the meditation of my thoughts be acceptable to You. Thank You that You are my strength and my redeemer.  

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer,” Psalm 19:14 KJV.

Today’s devotion is by Nancy Anderson, a pastoral care/trauma resolution counselor in the Atlanta area. She is founder and Executive Director of LifeSong Ministries, Inc. and booking agent for Kathy Carlton Willis Communications. She previously served as a women's minister and president of the Southern Crescent Women's Ministry Forum. Learn more at:

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