We start too many things with the sentiment, “Here’s what’s wrong.”
Let’s be honest: A lot of things are wrong. A lot of things can get our blood boiling, our hearts pounding, our anger kindled and our hearts heavy.
And it’s not hard to find those things. Every day I read blogs that enumerate and extricate the wrong in the world, everything from drinking from water bottles to terrible wars and gross abuse.
There is a lot to get frustrated about. And the church has a lot to say about a lot of things.
Maybe it’s because we are graced by God to have seen true good in him that the wrong in this world so alarmingly stands out to us.
I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t notice these things and say things about them. I’ve written my fair share of blogs stating my own, “Here’s what’s wrong.”
But I look at my children and I see the hope in their eyes as they look to the future and think about this world, and I can’t help but think that all of my “here’s what’s wrongs” aren’t doing them any favors.
Even if I’m right about what’s wrong and even if it’s something they need to know is wrong, I’m beginning to think the conversation needs to start further back, before the wrong, to what is right.
In the beginning, God created the heaven and earth, and it was good. Later on, sin entered the world, and it was wrong.
But the wrong that came did not negate the good that was. If anything, the wrong that came showed us just how good the good was and our souls began craving that good once again.
But, if we taste that good, if we enter into that grace and once again experience all the good that God has to lavish on our souls, and then spend our days pointing out all the bad all around us, are we really living into the abundant life God has purchased for us?
Shouldn’t the good be our launching point, not the bad?
I’m not saying we ignore what’s wrong. I’m not saying we excuse it or dismiss it or pretend it’s not there. But I want to change the tone of the conversation.
Instead of starting with the “here’s what’s wrong” routine, I think I want to start from the “here’s what’s right” standpoint.
Instead of pointing fingers, I want to extend grace as it has been extended to me. I want my kids to know what’s right in this world and that all hope is not lost because we serve a God of future and hope.
When I see the sin in this world, I don’t want to simply “SMH” and walk away.
I want to remember that before the sin, God was good.
I want to tell my kids, “God is good. His love is perfect. What you see there, that wrong you are experiencing, that’s not him. That’s not his ways. That’s not his heart.”
I want to make sure they hear this from me: “Here’s what’s right in this world: God loved us so much that he sent his son into this world to rescue us from the wrong and wrap us up in the good and whoever believes in him can experience that abundant life.”
What if we started more conversations with “Here’s what’s right.” What if we celebrated more? What if we affirmed each other more? What if we took the time to point out the amazing things that are happening all around us every single day?
There’s hope to be had, there’s good to be noticed, and God is still at work in this world today.
I want to give my kids something to fight for, not just things to fight against.
There are things that are wrong, horrible things.
But there are things that are good, too. Let’s make sure we tell the whole story and we never forget the goodness found in the undying love of God.
Christina Embree is director of children and family ministries at Nicholasville United Methodist Church near Lexington, Kentucky. A version of this article first appeared on her website, Refocus Ministry, and is used with permission. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbreeChristina.
A church planter with Plowshares Brethren in Christ in Lexington, Kentucky, she is a graduate of Wesley Seminary with a Master of Arts degree in ministry focusing on family, youth and children’s ministry.