Weekly Thought – January 23, 2018
Fred grew up in the home of a Baptist pastor who emphasized the value of Biblical truth. Even though Fred did not quote “chapter and verse” when he spoke, his ideas were always principle-based. He knew how to take scripture and put it in everyday language which could be readily applied.
These mentoring questions are part of hundreds which appear on the website www.breakfastwithfred.com He was asked to give quick answers by his daughter and these pithy responses reflect his ability to distill profound subjects into manageable ideas.
1) Do I believe that human nature is basically good or evil? Many operate from the premise human nature is fundamentally good and all that is needed for peace is education. They think sin is an anomaly and can be worked through. I believe mankind is born basically flawed whose tendency is downward with potential for upward progress. Only a Christian experience can give us the power to overcome sin. But, I don’t think we should overemphasize the downward trend, totally ignoring the upward potential.
2) How do I view bad experiences? I am known for my one-liners. For example, “wait to worry” has been quoted by speakers and writers throughout the country. Another one is “never lose the good of a bad experience.” The story of Joseph in scripture is a clear example of this principle. As his brothers recognized him, they expected retribution for their despicable treatment of him as a young man. However, he responded, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” We can never deny the reality of bad situations, but we must endure them and look for the good. And, often we need time to see the outcome and the good.
3) How do I differentiate between problems and facts of life? A simple definition I started using years ago is: “A problem is something you can do something about; a fact of life is a given.” To spend time trying to change facts of life is foolish. It is wise to focus on problems and solutions.
4) Do I drag experiences from the past into the present? Certainly the past can become a real drag on the future. The past is often checkered with human mistakes and sins. The human mistakes we can do our best to correct. The sins must be confessed and then forgiven by God. It is a difficult but worthwhile discipline to view our past this way. The Apostle Paul gave this advice, “Forgetting the past I press forward.”
5) Do I motivate or manipulate others? Of course, the definition of each forms the answer. I have a basic rule that motivation is recognizing mutual interest and manipulation is focused only on what is to my advantage. Many times leaders will assert they are motivating, but in truth, they are manipulating for selfish purposes instead of serving the other person. I know of a writer who said he was writing a book on motivation titled, “How to get others to do what you want.” That was not motivation; that was manipulation.
This week think about: 1) What good in past bad experiences have I been missing? 2) How do I make sure I continue motivating and not manipulating? 3) What do I believe the Bible teaches about the nature of man?
Words of Wisdom: “Never lose the good of a bad experience.”
Wisdom from the Word: “As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so he could preserve the lives of many people, as you can see this day.” (Genesis 50:20 NET Bible)