One of the characteristic facts of life is that by and large we make people what we expect them to be. If we treat a person as if we expect him or her to be an unpleasant character, he or she will very likely be an unpleasant person; and if we treat a person as if we expected him or her to act like a person of honor? We will probably find that individual a person of honor.
Suspicion begets suspicion; and a low view of a person produces people in low places.
It is those who expect the best from others who get the best from others. Coach Anastasia, my football coach in high school, believed strongly that coaching his athletes was best accomplished by emphasizing the things we did well and from there he would show us how to do even better the next time. Coach Anastasia’s belief in the honor of his athletes laid an obligation of honor on each of us.
One of the most famous character sketches ever written was of a beloved Captain, by Donald Hankey during the First World War. The story goes that the captain came to the platoon; he picked out the most awkward ones, not to bully and to criticize them, but to help them. He clearly believed that they could become good soldiers. “His confidence was infectious. He looked at them,
and they looked at him and the men pulled themselves together and determined to do their best. Their best surprise themselves.” The men under his command always talked about his warm smile. “It meant something. It meant that we were his men, and he was proud of each of us, and ensured us that we were going to do well – better than any of the other platoons. And it made them determine that they would.” He taught them that there is no more uplifting feeling in this world than the certainty that someone believes in us.
When we truly believe that God believes in each of us; imagine how that would change our fellowship with one another, our church and its mission, our ministry to others, and members of our community. I firmly believe we would be known as a group of people that whatever the request God could count on us to do our best for others.
No Christian can shut his or her eyes to the sin of the world, but, if the Christian is to be like God and Jesus Christ, the Christian will expect the best from others and the chances are that the Christian will get it.