Remember the Best and Forget the Rest
By Rick Warren
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Philippians 4:8 (The Message)
What do you choose to remember about the time you’ve spent with people? Do you remember the good experiences or the bad experiences?
The apostle Paul chose to remember the good, to focus on the positive, and to be thankful. He said to the Christians in Philippi, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” (Philippians 4:8 The Message).
Paul did not have an easy time in Philippi. Acts 16 tells us that, when Paul went to Philippi, he was illegally arrested, whipped, humiliated, and thrown into prison before finally being asked to leave town. Yet he thanked God for his time with the Philippians.
Paul could have dwelt on the negative. He could have recalled the painful memories. But he chose to stop focusing on the painful things. Instead, he remembered the things he could be grateful for.
You can make a similar decision with the people in your life.
Stay in relationship with someone long enough and you’re bound to hurt each other. Maybe you’ve been hurt in the past by a parent’s short-tempered response or a friend's thoughtless word. Are you still holding on to that hurt? Does it keep you from enjoying that person today? If so, you’re focusing on the negative.
I’m not saying that you should deny your hurts or excuse the weaknesses in other people. That is psychologically unhealthy. And, of course, abusive relationships are a different story. But in normal, relatively healthy relationships, you can choose to focus on the good. You can choose to remember the other person’s strengths.
I hear wives say, “He’s a good man, but . . . ” (and I hear husbands say the same about their wives). Anytime you hear “but,” it means the emphasis is on the negative and not the positive. But the fact is, Mr. and Mrs. Perfect don’t exist.
In your relationships, choose to enjoy what you have. And to enjoy someone, you have to focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses. With some people, that takes a lot of creativity! But you can find something good in everyone.
And when you think about your past, remember that pleasant memories are a choice. Follow the example of the apostle Paul and choose to emphasize what you can be thankful for.
In both your past and your present, choose to be grateful for the good in people. Choose to remember the best and forget the rest.
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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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