Recently, I had the honor of being interviewed by Dr. Christine Bacon, host of the radio talk show, Breakfast with Bacon. The program airs on Fridays on WKQA 1110 AM (www.wkqaradio.com) at 11:00 AM. We talked about my second book, The Exceptional Man: Love Poems and Inspirational Writings Celebrating Godly Men and Great Relationships. During the interview, the question came up about how one can make the shift from focusing on the negative qualities in our significant other to focusing on the positive. I answered the question on the air, but I went home and pondered on the topic a little more. Below are some things the Holy Spirit gave me to share regarding what we need to do to make the shift from focusing on the weaknesses in people to focusing on their strengths:
- Ask the Spirit to convict you when you have negative thoughts about your significant other. God has positive thoughts about us (Jeremiah 29:11) at all times, and He wants his children to be like Himself and think positive thoughts about others. In I Corinthians 13:7 (AMP) we read that love believes the best about people. Since one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs is to convict us of sin, why not ask Him to convict you when you have negative thoughts about your loved one? Recognizing when you have negative thoughts pop into your head is half the battle.
- Ask God to help you to deliberately shift your focus. Jesus said without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Therefore, we need to ask for God’s help in being able to shift our focus to the positive aspects of our loved one’s character. God says if we call on Him, and He will answer us (Jeremiah 33:3). He is a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).
- Receive the grace of God yourself. Those who are hard on others, tend to be hard on themselves. When we receive God’s grace and accept the divine exchange where Jesus received our sin and gave us His righteousness (II Corinthians 5:21), we stop focusing so much on our own flaws. When we understand that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin AND righteousness (John 16:8), we’ll start to focus more on what’s right with us than what is wrong. When we learn to extend grace to ourselves, we will automatically start to extend grace to others and focus on their good qualities.
- Remember that we need to model God for the world. God created the plan of salvation so that He could choose not to focus on the faults of those who accept His Son as Lord and Savior. He’s intentional about it, and we should be, too. Additionally, God also told us to be merciful as He is merciful (Luke 6:36). Part of being merciful is to deliberately focus on peoples’ strengths instead of their weaknesses. Therefore, when we intently focus on the good points of others, we accurately model God to the world.
Beloved, the people in our lives have good points and bad points, strengths and weaknesses, just as we do. We can choose to focus on the good or the bad. However, we must realize that whichever we choose will affect the level of joy and peace we have in our relationships. That being said, one way to stay focused on the good is to make a written list of the positive aspects of the one you love, and keep it readily available to pull out at a moment’s notice. When their humanity starts to show and they get on your last nerve, this will help you to make a deliberate choice to focus on their positive qualities. Finally, if you will receive the conviction of the Holy Spirit when your thoughts go south, and receive the grace of God for yourself, you will find that your focus will shift to the positive characteristics, and your appreciation for the people in your life will increase exponentially. That’s when you will begin to really enjoy (instead of endure) your relationships.
Have you gotten to the place where you are good at focusing on the positives in others? How did you get to that place? Please a comment below.
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