“He is a thief.” “She’s a slut.” “He is so rude.” “What’s the matter with her?” These are some of the words that we use to describe people that we meet every day. Hmmm….Later when asked if we actually said those words out loud about someone else. We suddenly become very forgetful!
It has been said that memory is not so much forgetful, as it is selective. This is something that I read years ago while I was at University doing my undergraduate degree. I have repeated this idea of memory being selective over the years to many persons, including my own family members. My father in particular would repeat these words when interacting with me and my own forgetfulness at times!
But really, how do we remember some things and then completely erase others? As human beings we tend to remember the negative things more often than we remember the positive things. Then even as we remember the negative things, we often tend to think more highly of ourselves and excuse our mistakes while bearing down on the faults of others. This is known in the social science world as the self-serving bias.
The theory of the self-serving bias purports that we opt to excuse and explain away our faults while on the other hand we come down ferociously on the faults of other. Thus giving ourselves “a get out of jail card,” as it were, while imprisoning someone else in our negativity. On a more practical level, the self-serving bias encourages us to remember a story from a perspective of always being in the right, and the other person always being in the wrong.
Having been a divorcee, for quite a long time I viewed myself as having been the wronged person and the other party as being the guilty party. However I have learnt that there’s always more than one person in a scenario like this. No one person can be blamed completely. Yep, I said it! Therefore it’s really important that you at least think about what happens to the other party, not just ourselves.
Let’s change the narrative. What if… what if, instead of always putting ourselves in the right, what about thinking more highly of others instead? Not that you have to negate or downplay the wrongs committed against you, but instead you definitely will benefit from looking at situations through different lenses.
I remember listening to a speaker explain that God looks at us not from where we are right now, but from where we are in the future. Imagine that! The truth is, you and I, in our finite minds, cannot even imagine such a grand perspective! So here is a hypothetical scenario.
So hypothetically…if you knew right now for certain, that within the next two years you would be a millionaire and every bill that you had would be paid, how would your perspective on life and daily attitude change?
Every day we face financial struggles that impact the decisions that we make for ourselves our families. So for example, as women that struggle could be as simple as buying a pair of shoes for a child or parent vs paying for our own medical bill. Instead of being worried and stressed out, what if we prayed instead, refused to worry and followed the biblical advice that states:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phillippians 4:6).
Why???? Well because we would have already seen the future and knew that we could literally forget about that bill! See what I did there, being selective about memory!
Can you imagine us then, seeing everyone that we meet with those “futuristic” and “anxious-free” and “thanksgiving” lenses?
Through God’s eyes people become soooo much more. As Christians we should not cancel and speak ill of persons and follow the prevailing culture. Instead we should think about individuals that we meet as candidates for God’s Kingdom. Each person being unique and made for a special purpose.
My challenge to you today:
See others through God’s eyes, intentionally find and select the good in others, just so that you can see them not through your own myopic lenses, but through God’s futuristic lenses of love.