Like most of you, I have worked in a secular job and environment for a long time. In my case, for well over twenty years in law enforcement. While working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the realm of Foreign Counter Intelligence, I received extensive training in developing “character assessment” on the individuals we pursued in surveillance. We found the Russians from the former Soviet Union (USSR) somewhat amusing. The men, when accompanied with their wives, would sit in the front seats of their cars, and the wife would ride in the back seat. At least they did not put them in their trunk. They also usually walked ahead of them and not side by side.
While taking in service training at Quantico, Virginia, we learned the “Halo/Horns” Effect. I have found that there is real Biblical truth in this teaching, NOT that our government leans extensively towards the truth of our faith, but sometimes they do stumble on to something. i.e. “Even a blind hog will find an acorn once in awhile,” and “If you throw enough mud against a wall, some of it will stick.” The theory goes as follows: We must be careful not to have a tainted view towards an individual simply because we either like them, or we do not like them. I must be careful and not harbor the idea that my friend can do no wrong. Our friends all have many fine qualities, but if we are not careful, we can overlook the sins and trespasses of those who are close to us. We end up doing them a disservice through appeasing and placating them. The book of Proverbs tells us that: “The wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy,” and “A fool despises wisdom, but a wise man receives correction and it makes him wiser still.” No one is perfect, and if we want to be true to God and our friends, there are times when we can be loving and transparent and help them become stronger believers through the sharing of advice and counsel as we feel led by the Holy Spirit. Likewise, we must realize that our enemies and those of whom we have nothing in common, nonetheless all have good qualities. If we are not careful we can erroneously paint them as totally evil through our own convoluted and biased logic. When that happens, our desire to pray for them will be eroded. We will observe them through rose colored glasses. Their actions that turn us against them may be something that we do not understand. Also, if we search for good in them we will indeed find it (people get what they are looking for). …And when we find the good in them, God can use our positive thoughts to change our entire attitude about them. Folks, the fact of the matter is that we are all sanctified in spots, and we all have weaknesses that are as profound as our strengths. We all carry baggage as well. You do not believe that? Then carefully do an extensive character study of anyone in the Bible (except for Jesus because He alone is perfect), or better yet, take an honest look at yourself. You think about that….
Blessings, Pastor Steve