We had a cat named Cuddles for almost 15 years. She was a sweet cat that my kids loved. One of my sons in particular seemed to own her by his consistent affection toward her.
A few years ago, some friends asked us if we would take in a kitten that they could not keep because of allergies. I caved and we took it into our home. It wasn’t a good idea. It was far too frisky and Cuddles, our first cat was too old to adapt. It turned Cuddles from a sweet and wonderful cat into a cranky and hissing monster. She couldn’t stand the kitten. My son who loved Cuddles that most became very enamored with the kitten. His affection had shifted from Cuddles to the new kitten. He began to see Cuddles in more of a negative light. One day when he was complaining about Cuddles, I reminded him of how much he loved her and of how sweet she was before the kitten came on the scene. He was having trouble remembering how much he had loved Cuddles and her pattern of always being a nice cat.
The kitten was too much for our home. We found a new place for it and for Cuddles sake had to give it up. When we did, Cuddles immediately turned back into her sweet self. She won back the affections of my son who was temporarily hurting from the pain of the lost kitten. It was fun to watch him return to holding her with love and affection, forgetting that short cranky spell she went through when her space was invaded.
Concerning people in our life, it’s important to remember the good things about someone who has been loving to you for so long if they hit a bump in the road, if they get cranky, if something hurts their reputation, or if the affection for something or someone else tries to replace them.
2 Tim 1:13 -14 says, “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” In this verse, we see the Apostle Paul instructing the disciples around him to look at his pattern of sound teaching. He wanted them to value and guard this new way of life in obedience to God’s Word. Paul was a living example of how to think and be like Jesus. He knew that his influence was impacting their life. He knew it was important for them to learn the word but he also knew they needed to see someone live it out in real life. He was also warning them that others were out to ruin his reputation and he wanted his disciples to remember the kind of man he was! There were many who hated Paul out of jealousy, believing he was a heretic. They were continuously trying to destroy his reputation and character through lies and rumors. He wanted the disciples to remember who he was and what he represented. When the lies and rumors hit them, he wanted them to guard their hearts and remember the truth about his pattern of sound teaching. Paul knew what we should all learn. That people who are leaders for God are hated by the enemy. Because they are, Satan works to lie and tear down their reputations like he did with Jesus.
You wouldn’t think Paul would have to worry about that but think for a minute; Jesus was one day teaching, preaching, casting out demons and healing everyone around Him. They believed Him to be a prophet of God if not the Messiah Himself. Yet after the persecution started, they turned their back on Jesus and forgot about what they had heard and seen and instead believed the rumors and lies. Paul knew that this was a common fickleness of man’s behavior.
I have found that focusing on the good patterns in people has truly helped me value them at times when the devil would try to devalue them or cause upheaval in their lives. At some point in life, the devil is out to destroy everyone’s reputation and character. Usually some kind of problem or misunderstanding happens. Then negative words or rumors start flying. Then the devil works to get us to pay attention and believe those negative comments or rumors more than years of a pattern of good things. People that get sucked in by the lies about good godly people end up throwing away good relationships and friendships that have been a blessing to them like they were used Kleenex. I’ve seen people pick up other’s offenses against their Pastor and ending up abandoning him just because another was offended at something. It is so sad! Value good people who have shown you long time love and care. Don’t be part of an attack against someone else’s reputation. Stand up for them. You’ve seen their good pattern of life. Don’t easily forget it!
In 1 Corinthians 13, we are instructed that our default mode should be to believe and assume the best of someone instead of easily being persuaded to believe the worst.
I remember years ago, being upset with someone I considered a friend. He had in my opinion made a few bad chooses which affected and upset me. For a while we were at odds with each other. I ran things through my mind over and over again and as I did, he became more and more of a villain. I had been praying about this when the Lord stopped me. He said, “I want you to think about everything you have ever liked about this person and the pattern of good in their life. Think about the blessing they’ve been to you for so long!” I started thinking about our friendship, what a good person he was, and all the things I liked about him. I remembered what a good friend he had been. As I did, the good feelings immediately started surfacing and bad feelings started to dissipate. It enabled me to back off with a more open perspective and desire to sit down and work out our differences. We worked things out and our friendship was better and stronger than before.
Being able to hold on to the best of people and overlook their flaws and mistakes is a supernatural doing. It takes the help of the Holy Spirit. That is why the Apostle Paul said, “Guard the good deposit (what you have viewed and believed about good people) that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” It all starts with asking God to help you hold on to and remember and focus on the good you’ve seen and experienced from people in your life! Value relationships! They are not used Kleenex to throw away. They are a gift from God. Guard them!
Proverbs 20:3 (NLT) “Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor: only fools insist on quarreling.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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