Look for the Good

Posted on June 21, 2013 at 6:00 am by wpadmin Comments Off on Look for the Good

Having read with some interest the recent Small Town Perspectives concerning the anonymous writer criticizing the Dakota Herald, I was reminded of a story told about President Abraham Lincoln during the civil war.

Those who opposed his views regarding the war and slavery as well as his efforts to keep the nation united were vocal in denouncing him.

One day Lincoln was walking down the street near the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., when an acquaintance caught up with him. The man related many of the incidences of anti-Lincoln sentiment regarding Lincoln and his policies.

As the man was speaking, Lincoln continued walking and remained silent, absorbed in his own thoughts. Finally, the exasperated man asked, “Mr. Lincoln, have you heard me? Are you listening to me?”

“Yes, I have heard you,” Lincoln said, stopping, “but let me tell you a story. During the time of the full moon it is the habit of the dogs to come out at night to bark and bark at the moon. They keep it up as long as the moon is clearly visible in the sky.” And then Lincoln started walking again.

Confused by Lincoln’s response, his companion shouted, “Mr. Lincoln, you haven’t finished your story. Tell me the rest of it.”

Lincoln stopped walking, looked at the man and said, “There’s nothing more to tell, even though the dogs bark, the moon just keeps on shining.”

And when it comes to criticism, President Lincoln was a good example of how to handle it. He knew his shortcomings, he knew some people disagreed with him, he knew others did not understand him, yet he stayed his course. He believed he could make a difference and that his policies would eventually unify his beloved country.

We will always have fault finders around us. There will always be people who seldom see the good we attempt but are quick to point out the negative, the deficiencies they perceive. Like Lincoln, all of us need to find ways to handle criticism without being distracted or destroyed by it.

 Perhaps even more, we all need to work at being the person who looks for the good in others, who is an encourager of our children, our friends and all those in our world. So often we have no idea of the daily struggles or issues another person is facing, we only see something from our own frame of reference which may be very distorted. I’m reminded of the words of Jesus from Luke 6:41,43 when He said, “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?…First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

Prayer: Father, help me to see “the log in my own eye”; to be an encourager to my family and friends in their daily struggles and may I always see the good in others. Amen.