Expecting The Best

“Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.  But, meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you.” Philemon 1:21-22

The optimist, the person who either by choice or by natural inclination tends to see life in terms of the positive or good things that will come to them, is by most people more admired than the pessimist. I think this is true because it’s far more enjoyable to be in the company of an optimist than it is a pessimist.

Pessimists don’t see themselves as looking at the world fatalistically so much as they do realistically. They believe that since life is full of difficulties and challenges we’re better prepared when we open our eyes and anticipate the bad stuff coming at us.

One of the great disadvantages of the pessimists approach, when compared to the optimist, is how it effects their interactions with other people.

The optimist tends to expect the best from people while the pessimist expects disappointment.

It’s this inherent difference in expectation that is the pessimists fatal flaw. You see, people tend to fulfill our expectations, or at least they try to. If your expectation is that they’ll do something good, and kind, and responsible that’s what you’ll get but if you expect them to fail, or be disrespectful, or irresponsible that’s what you’ll get.

So as a leader, or a parent, or an employer, if you hope to receive the best effort from those looking to you. you need to genuinely expect that they will honestly give you every effort in giving their best.

Paul, having made his case to Philemon, regarding how he hoped that Onesimus would be received by his master, expressed his confidence that Philemon would do not only what he’d asked of him but that he would do even more. So confidently is Paul’s expectation communicated that he ends his entreaty and abruptly shifts to inviting himself to be a guest in his friends home. This precipitate shift in subject strengthens the communication of the confidence of expectation. It’s like he saying, “I don’t need to explain or entreat you anymore. You now fully understand how the situation has changed. You know what I’m asking you to do, as a loving Christian friend and co-laborer. I’m confident that you’ll do the right thing.”

There’s much we can learn from Paul’s example. He demonstrates the same confidence in Philemon that Christ shows to us everyday. Each new day God send us people to love, some who’ve been with us many times and others who we’ve never encountered before. He sends them to us because he expects that we’ll love them as he does.

Do we? Not always, but Jesus still expects the best from us and my experience is that most times, most Christians live up to His expectations.

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