What We Should and Can Be
This is not new: “Treat a person as he is, and he will stay what he is. Treat a person what he could be and should be, and he will become what he could and should be.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Isn’t that what God has done for us? Think about Peter for a moment. God told him his name would be changed. That name change reflected what Christ knew Peter could and should be. Peter became that rock. He became that individual who did strengthen his brethren. Jesus did not leave him as He found him.
Also, it would have been easy for the Lord to leave Saul of Tarsus as He found him. It would have been easy to justify leaving him as that Pharisee who was determined to destroy people of The Way. It would have been so easy to cast him off as one who would not listen. Too hard-headed. Too radical. Too fervent. No, God treated him for what he could and should be. Paul did not disappoint. He became a prolific writer. As a hero, he stands second only to Jesus in the eyes of many.
Moses was the fugitive from Egypt. He was a wondering nomad. He was a shepherd in the desert. God could have said, “He had his chance. He blew it.” No, God did not leave him where he was or treat him as he was. God called him to be the one to deliver his people. He treated him based on what He saw Moses was able to do and what he could become.
Barnabas and John Mark are a classic example of this, too. Paul treated John Mark as he was. As far as Paul was concerned, he could stay as he was. In the eyes of Paul, he was going to be no better. That was not true of Barnabas. Barnabas saw what John Mark could and should be. He helped him become what he could be and should be. In the end, Paul tells Timothy to bring John Mark to him for “he is good for me.” Say what? The man Paul thought would be no better than he was, is now good for him. Amazing, isn’t it?
How about us? Do we simply see through the eyes of what people are and that they will not or cannot be any different today? Do we see possibilities of what they can and should be? Do we treat them in a manner that tells them we know they can and should be better and be more? Do we amplify their possibilities or shout their deficiencies?
For each of us, someone gave us the opportunity to become better and more than we were. Surely, we want to see people, not for who they are, but for who they can and should be. That is what we want to help them become.
After all, that is exactly what God has done for us. He did not treat us as we are, but what we can be, for Him.