Look for the Good
I recently heard Jason Mraz's cheerful new song called Look For The Good.
Here are the words of the chorus:
Look for the good in everything
Look for the people who will set your soul free
It always seems impossible until it's done
Look for the good in everyone
It reminded me of how often we are negative rather than positive; how we so often see the so-called bad parts of a person before we see the good things about them; how we focus on the dangers of a situation before we see the opportunities.
There is a prevalent idea in many Christian circles of original sin. Basically, because of Adam's decision to sin against God in the Genesis creation story, all future generations have suffered the consequences. We are told that we are born into sin and there is no way that we can escape being sinful. Some Christians even claim that if a child dies before they are baptised, they will be condemned to an eternity in a fiery hell... Can you believe it?!
While the claim of original sin may have scriptural backing, it is not the entirety of our story. In fact, it is not even the main part of our story. In my blog post, Where our story really begins, I explained how in the story of creation, before human beings chose to sin against God, they were inherently good beings, created for a whole life in communion with God. I don't believe that this inherent goodness disappeared after Adam's stumble.
I agree that all human beings have a natural tendency to sin and perpetuate evil at times. But we also have an inherent goodness inside of us, reminding us of God's original blessing for humanity and the world.
When we look at people and the world, we should first seek the original blessing inside of them, rather than immediately focusing on what is wrong with them/the situation.
Is this not how Jesus lived? When a woman who was caught in adultery was brought to Jesus, Jesus chose to see her future potential for new life instead of focusing on her previous acts of sin. According to Jewish Law, the woman should have been stoned to death. But Jesus acknowledged her as a human being who made some mistakes and he offered her another chance to experience a new, abundant life of grace and forgiveness.
Throughout Jesus' life, he seemed to focus on God's original blessing for humanity and the world, as opposed to original sin that many of us seem to make our primary focus.
Listening to Jason Mraz's new song has reminded me that if we can learn to see and accentuate the good in the world, just like Jesus did, the world would surely be a sweeter place.
"Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."- Philippians 4:8 (NRSV)
Image Source: Charisse Kenion