Remember the Best, Forget the Rest
“I thank my God every time I remember you.” (Philippians 1:3 NIV)
What do you remember about people — the good experiences or the bad experiences? The apostle Paul said, “I like to remember the good things about people, focus on the good times we’ve had, and remember the positive experiences.”
When Paul said this, he had 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 says, “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3 NIV).
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 them today. You’re still focusing on the negative.
Be grateful for the good in people. Pleasant memories are a choice. I can choose what I’m going to remember about the past.
I’m not saying that you deny the hurts you’ve had or that you 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.
Talk It Over
- What are the painful memories that have kept you from showing love fully to someone?
- What will you pray today so that you can let go of those memories and move on with your life?
- What about that person can you be grateful for?
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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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