“REMEMBER THE BEST AND FORGET THE REST”
Adapted from Rick Warren’s November 13, 2016 devotional blog ‘Daily Hope’ at: www.pastorrick.com
What do you remember about people — the good experiences or the bad experiences? The apostle Paul’s attitude was to remember the good things about people, focus on the good times, and remember the positive experiences.
Paul did not had an easy time in Philippi. Acts 16 tells us that when he went to Philippi he was illegally arrested, whipped, humiliated, and thrown into prison before finally being asked to leave town. Yet he wrote to those people there that did eventually respond to the Gospel, “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3).
Paul could have dwelt on the negative. He could have remembered the painful memories. He chose not to remember the painful things; instead, he focused on the things he could be grateful for.
Maybe you have been hurt in the past by a parent or a partner, and you’re still holding on to that hurt. As a result, you can’t enjoy being around that person today. You’re still focusing on the negative.
Be grateful for the good in people. Pleasant memories are a choice. You can choose what you’re going to remember about the past.
I’m not saying that you should deny the hurts you’ve had or excuse the weaknesses in other people. That is psychologically unhealthy. But focus on the good, and choose to emphasize the strengths.
I hear wives say, “He’s a good man, but …” Anytime you hear “but,” it means the emphasis is on the negative and not the positive. Be grateful for what you’ve got! Mr. Perfect does not exist. I’ve heard the same thing from husbands, but Mrs. Perfect does not exist either.
If you want to enjoy others, you’ve got to focus on their strengths and not their weaknesses. With some people, it takes a lot of creativity. But you can find something good in everybody.
A man was telling his friend about the big argument he had with his wife the night before. “She was historical,” he said. “You must mean hysterical,” his friend responded. “No, I mean historical,” the first man replied, adding, “She remembered and reminded me of every single thing I’ve done wrong in our entire married life.”
The only hope for those who insist on focusing on the bad memories:
Philippians 1:3 — I thank my God every time I remember you.
Colossians 3:15 — Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Proverbs 19:11 — A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
I Corinthians 13:4-6 — Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
O Lord Jesus, because, being full of foolishness, we often sin and have to ask pardon, help us to forgive as we would be forgiven, neither mentioning old offenses committed against us, nor dwelling upon them in thought, nor being influenced by them in heart; but loving each other freely, as you freely love us; for your name’s sake. Amen.
–Christina Rossetti, English poet (1830-1894)