28th February 2019

Focus on the Positive

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

A teacher was taking a class through the nine times table, and wrote it on the blackboard for them: 1 x 9 = 7, 2 x 9 = 18, 3 x 9 = 27, 4 x 9 = 36 5 x 9 = 45, 6 x 9 = 54, 7 x 9 = 63, 8 x 9 = 72, 9 x 9 = 81, 10 x 9 = 90, 11 x 9 = 99, 12 x 9 = 108.

The teacher ignored the muffled laughter and giggles as the table went up, then turned to face the class and asked why the amusement? Several pupils loudly pointed out that 1 x 9 = 9, not 7, as the teacher had written! “I know,” the teacher told the class, “but I did it that way to teach you a very important lesson in life—eleven out the twelve sums are right, but you all immediately zeroed in on the one sum that was wrong. In life, far too often, that is what people will do to you and, if you are not careful, what you will do to your-self.”

In life too many want perfection in all they do and expect it of the people they know at work and socially as well. But it is an unrealistic goal which is impossible to live up to, for yourself and others. Remember the only people who don’t make mistakes are people who do nothing!

It is easy to be a critic and pounce on people who make mistakes, or to beat yourself up mentally for making them. But to learn to be an encourager and supporter of both yourself and the people you know is a much harder, but much more rewarding, challenge. People who constantly criticise themselves, and far worse, others, don’t grow in confidence and develop a positive attitude to life. Over-critical parents don’t develop children who grow into confident adults. Over-critical bosses don’t develop their teams’ confidence or ability to do the job. Over-critical people don’t develop lasting, life long friendships and relationships.

Sometimes criticism is necessary but it should always be given in a balanced, constructive way. So, for example you could say, well done, you got eleven of those sums right but why not look at 1 x 9 again, do you see anything wrong with it?

We must not see failure as the end of the world we are in, but rather as a stepping stone to success. It’s not failing at something which is a problem, but failing to learn from the failure! When a baby is learning to walk, you don’t criticise or condemn them for failing when they fall over. You encourage them to try again and again and suddenly one day they are walking! So why not become an encourager at your school, home or workplace? Why not become an encourager on social media? Why not say to yourself if I can’t post an encouraging comment I won’t post anything at all? Plan to be an encourager of yourself and others on your journey through life. It will make life more enjoyable, more fun and build better relationships with all the people you meet.

Prayer
Loving, merciful Father, we live in a critical and judgmental age which can affect people negatively. Help them, and us, to learn to be encouragers rather than critics, knowing and understanding that you love us and forgive us. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Study by Keith Hartrick
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About the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, and serves on the Church Council there.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LEEDS
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone: 01484-312347
Email: malcolm701@googlemail.com

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