This Thanksgiving, Focus on the Good

–November of 1996

This Thanksgiving, Focus on the Good

I recently held a revival meeting in Binghamton, New York, with a wonderful congregation, who is privileged to be shepherded by a fine man of God and his wife.  God gave a gracious moving of His spirit, as well as a wonderful time of fellowship with the parsonage family.  The pastor, Rev. Rowan Fay, is such a delightful man, full of optimism and cheer.  In our conversations together, he was ever sharing something good about the people in the church or community or about someone both of us knew.  It seemed that he spoke of every person in such delightful, positive terms.  I became so intrigued by his genuinely positive evaluation of people that I asked him the “secret” to seeing the good in all men.  He told me that his father, Rev. O.L. Fay, had instilled in him as a young man this philosophy.  He would say, “Son, look for all the good in all the men which you can; and when you have found it, dwell on it until you know men for the good that is in them.”  This little nugget of pure gold struck a responsive chord in my own heart.  What a refreshing view of life!

The unfortunate truth is that far too many Christians have developed a view of life that has them focused on the bad.  They are always looking suspiciously for the flaws, weaknesses and failures of others.  If any good is seen or ever mentioned, it is only by accident and not by design.  There are even those who almost feel that it is their Christian duty to speak of everything and everyone in somber, negative tones.  What an awful view of life!

Christians who live out this simple philosophy of Brother Fay are just naïve people who are blind to all the warts and failures of others who are around them.  Rather, they are those who have chosen to catch and possess the spirit of perfect love that is found in the New Testament.  Jesus looked upon a renegade tax collector and saw a man—filled with potential.  Jesus looked upon the emotionally volatile Peter and saw a “rock” of a man that would lead His church.  The New Testament teaches us that perfect love enables us to “suffer long,” and “speak kindly” to and of our brothers.  On the other hand, it is the writing of the book of Proverbs who tells us “the ungodly man digs up evil, and it is on his lips like a burning fire.  A perverse man sows strife and a whisperer separates the best of friends.”

I know that a Dale Carnegie course or a Zig Zigler seminar can teach a man how to have public optimism for the good of his business.  However, I am convinced that it is only the work of God in the soul that can enable us to see the redeemable good in others, to dwell on that good, and to speak of others in kind and positive ways.

As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, let me challenge you to look for all the good in all the men that you can; and when you have found it, dwell on it until you will know men for the good that is in them, so that on this Thanksgiving Day, you can thank God for good men.

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