I workout to an exercise DVD 3 times a week. I have been doing this for several years now, and though I occasionally change the DVD, most times it is the kick-boxing workout that I follow, and after watching it umpteen times, I can predict every move and every word that comes from every person. There are 3 females on the DVD; one is the instructor, one is the faithful side-kick and fellow personal trainer who has been with her for years, and the third is the new gal. After a few months of following the DVD and getting the moves down, I found myself watching the new gal a lot, because she was the one that often stood out - the one making the mistakes and falling behind and needing the instructor to help her out. I began to notice every time she hesitated, every time she faltered, or moved to the left instead of the right, or did not lift her hand quite as high as the rest - mostly because it gave me something to focus my mind on and avoid boredom as the whole thing was getting predictable by this point. After awhile, I also saw that her boxing technique was sadly lacking - a lot of her moves were stiff and her arms sometimes unnaturally flailed about like some drowning man with too-short limbs. Well, she really isn’t that bad, but the more you watch something, the more those tiny mistakes stick out.
Wednesday morning while watching the unfortunate girl once again struggle occasionally to keep up with two pros, and somewhat gloating that my moves were now better than hers, I heard a loud and somewhat chiding voice in my head say, “What are you looking at? Keep your eyes on the right way, not the wrong way.“ Oh oh. There was my judgemental and critical attitude flaring up again when I wasn’t looking. My bad. Yes, I admit it, I do tend to pick up on mistakes and point out the errors that people make, even if only in my head. I don‘t know why, but the inconsistencies just jump out at me and take my focus off all the good stuff going on right beside it and I know that is not a good outlook on life.
One of the rules for safe and defensive driving is that you always look at where you want to go, not at what you want to avoid, because you will naturally steer towards what you are looking at. So if an accident happens in front of you, or unexpected danger comes into your path, keep your eyes on a clear path around the problem instead of ogling the mayhem. I KNOW that it is better to keep your focus on the RIGHT things instead of the WRONG things because we eventually go towards that which we focus on, but it is something I must continually work at.
Yesterday, on the way home from dinner with a friend downtown, we were listening to the radio and someone who administers lie detector tests was being interviewed (www.jacktrimarco.com). I was most impressed with the man’s integrity and respect for the truth. He was quick to point out the limitations of what he does (polygraphs done by experts are usually 90% accurate, and can only measure what people BELIEVE to be true, not actual truth), but the thing that impressed me most about him was one situation he mentioned. A few times a week he will have a distraught young woman come to him wanting him to test her husband or boyfriend because she thinks he is cheating on her. He usually answers the person with something like, “What will the results do for you? You already do not trust him, so if he fails, you will only strengthen this belief that he is untrustworthy. If he passes, you might perhaps celebrate the outcome but it won’t be long until you probably see something else you don’t trust in him. Do you want to come back here every time something suspicious comes up? I think you would be better spending the money on marriage/couple counselling than a lie detector test.”
I believe the trait that makes this man, Jack Trimarco, one of the best in his field (he used to work with the FBI), is that even after a lifetime of encountering liars and dishonest people, he still maintains an unshakeable belief, respect, and admiration for the truth. His standard is unwavering and he will not stoop to even seemingly harmless common sales techniques in order to sell his services when he feels they are not useful or necessary - that would be dishonest on his part. How knows what the truth looks like and therefore, can easily point out the disguises untruth might take on, however slight the change might be.
I want such a familiarity with truth and purity that anything else is two-dimensional in comparison. Every time I see imperfection and unrighteousness, let it reaffirm my love for the truth and drive me to refocus on what is right and good. Let me be constantly looking at my goal of the upward calling of Jesus, so much so that it gets deep into my subconscious, and even when I am not thinking about it, this being pointed in the right direction becomes my detente and natural position.
“Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Philippians 4:8-9 The Message