Looking For The Good
Look for the good. The church will only be what we seek to see. Christ looked for the good in people. Remember the woman who was washing his feet? While Simon thought she was despicable, Jesus saw her differently. Paul looked for the good in the church at Corinth. Despite the fact they were influenced to turn against him, he reminds them repeatedly that he told others good things about them (2 Corinthians).
Consider, shepherds need to look for the good in the flock. It is too easy to just settle into a bunker mentality. That is, when problem after problem bombards, just pull in and hide. It is also easy to measure people by their past failures. If a local church goes off the rails a little bit, it is easy to judge this church to do the same. Wait a minute: people can change. Their failures of the past do not mean they are that way now. And just because one congregation strayed does not mean another will. Each, the individual and the congregation, must be taken on their own merits. Shepherds do not have the luxury of jaded eyes. They must always be looking for the good in the flock. The flock will only be what shepherds try to see.
By contrast, the flock must be looking for the good in the shepherds. It may seem surprising, but shepherds are people, too. They have flaws and faults, too. Shepherds want to be seen through eyes of the good they do, not through jaded eyes. Just because I may have had a bad experience with a shepherd in another place, does not mean our shepherds will be the same way. Shepherds need the trust of the flock. They need the confidence of the people. At times we may not agree with their judgment. At times we may not understand why they acted a particular way. We need to realize they may possibly know something we do not. We need to be looking at the good for our shepherds. Shepherds will only be what the flock tries to see.
Also, brother to brother, sister to sister, and brother to sister. We need to work on only seeing the good. Anyone can find faults. It takes the eyes of Jesus to see the good in one another. Yes, we may have been wronged. We may have been hurt. But the Holy Spirit still said, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgive one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). No local church will exist peacefully without eyes to see the good in others. Even if there is a disagreement, we must still look for the good. The church will only be what we try to see.
But wait, someone says, “That sounds a lot like just ignoring the wrongs and the sins people.” In the same chapter that says we are to “bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things,” the Holy Spirit said, “Love does not rejoice in wrong but rejoices in truth.” We can be honest about the flaws and sins of others while seeing only the good. We are not totally depraved people. There is good to see despite the sin or mistakes we may make.
I can seek to see nothing else. When I fail, I feel miserable. To do otherwise leads to cynicism, jadedness, bitterness, and eventually hate. Yes, I will sin. Yes, you will sin. But Christ died for us. So there must be some good there. We are only going to see it if we are looking for it. The church will be no better or different than what we are looking for. The same is true of the family relationship.