In our teacher training education, we learn that for every negative we point out, there needs to be five positive praises or encouragements. People need to hear how special they are.People need to know their worth, in order to realise their full potential.
Sadly, it’s easier to point out what people have done wrong then what they have done right. We often take the right for granted, assuming that that’s the normal expectation. And when things fall short of the norm, it becomes obvious and easy for us to nitpick at.
This culture of highlighting the wrong instead of the right focuses us on our weaknesses and not our strengths. It reminds us of how incapable we are when that is just one out of the ten things that we have not achieved. The nine that have been excellently done, unfortunately, are seldom recognised.
Cameras nowadays are equipped with countless effects. One of which caught my attention was the blurring effect of the background with only one object as the focus of the entire photo.
When we just focus on what we want, the others blur and fade as if of no existence, having no effect on the main focus, like there's nothing else that matters except the object of our desire.
Although someone may be standing right beside you, be it the president or a beggar begging for food, it wouldn't have any impact on you. Or it could be raining or even a heavy thunderstorm in the background but the you that is the focus of it all, is as calm as ever, oblivious to the surrounding.
Even if there is a hungry dinosaur prowling behind you ready for the kill or a little ladybird at your feet, there would be no fear or distraction felt by the viewer for you are all they can see.
What we focus on in life is what we will see
John chapter 8 begins and ends with the focus of the Pharisees being stoning a person. First, it was stoning the adulterous woman and the end of the chapter saw them throwing stones at Jesus.
‘The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery… and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?”’ (John chapter 8, verses 3-6)
'That did it—pushed them over the edge. They picked up rocks to throw at him. But Jesus slipped away, getting out of the Temple.’(John chapter 8, verse 59)
The next chapter about the blind man from birthshows us what the people were truly focusing on.They were looking for someone to blame.
‘Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over.’ (John chapter 9, verses 3-4)
Focusing on what God can do
How often have we been focusing on the wrong things in life, asking the wrong questions? While our camera could have zoomed in on the important things in life like what God can do, we focus on the wrongs and try to pinpoint them to someone.
We blur out the greatness of God and all His works and zoom into the weaknesses of human and our incapabilities.As humans, we lack a lot. We make mistakes all the times.
Thus, if we were to keep focusing on humans, we will notice that it is unavoidable that everyone has something that we would find fault with or something that we could complain about. No matter who it is in life, we have our own shortcomings.
So why focus on humans? Where it is impossible with man, it is made possible with God, through Christ who strengthens us (Matthew chapter 19, verse 26; Philippians chapter 4, verse 13).
Let's make it a point to always look for what God can do in our lives and the lives of others around us because we are all special, yes we are!
Esther Koh is a stay-at-home mum living in Wellington with her husband and two sons. She loves people and has a passion for helping others find their purpose for living.
Esther Koh’s previous articles may be viewed at