I read just today about a phenomenon called "Situation Evocation". This refers to the fact that we spark responses from others that reinforce a tendency we ourselves already have. Cheerful people tend to make others smile back at them. Jaded people are dangerously contagious. Critical people get little mercy from others. The merciful obtain mercy. Just like in water, face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man, the Proverbs say.
I've noticed I can talk about how that leaders have to be "people-persons", and then ask someone, "What makes you an extrovert?" - and they will answer me with whatever is evidence in their mind about what makes them a people person.
But then, weeks or months later, if I talk about the beautiful artistic gifting inherent to the introvert, I can then ask the same person, "What makes you an introvert?" - and they will give me evidence for that, too.
Here's the thing: we all have the ability to find evidence for two opposite conclusions. Which conclusion we choose to go with reveals our heart.
If I look at my husband and think, "He doesn't care" - I find evidence of it. If I look at him and think, "He is so sweet and loving" - I find ample evidence of that.
I know. I've tried it, both ways.
It is stunning, the way my thoughts can define and dictate my feelings to me...not vice-versa. I can "truth" my way out of any lie, if only I am willing to have my perspective adjusted. I can choose a critical perspective, and my experience will soon confirm the conclusion; when I seek evil, I can find it...in anyone and anything at any given time.
He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, But trouble will come to him who seeks evil. (Proverbs)
Perspective is a function of the heart. The heart of every woman is predisposed to seek either good or evil, to be either positive or negative - because the heart is wired to function from a basis of either grace or performance (works), nothing in between.
"And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work." Rom. 11:6
It is important, therefore, to be renewed in the "spirit of your mind". Allow your heart to be renewed in the gospel, begin to earnestly seek the good in your circumstances and in the people you say you care about. If you do, you'll find your perspective adjusted to function from grace instead of a mindset of "earning and deserving".
If you must "earn and deserve" with God, then so must your children and spouse and friends with you. If you rather earnestly seek good, and you receive the free gift of grace from God, so must your children and spouse and friends ultimately experience undeserved love from you.
When I hear someone refer to this as "cheap grace", or "easy believe-ism", I laugh. I've read (and love) all of Bonhoeffer's works, and I get what he meant, when he coined this term from a prison cell, suffering for the sake of Christ.
But nobody else can use it with authority, unless they are likewise suffering. Pretty much everyone who tosses around the words "cheap grace" today, are using them to look down their nose at someone else's theology. Almost none who bandy that term in our generation have actually lived grace out - it is mere concept to them, that is why they think it can be cheapened. When you "live of the gospel" as opposed to merely saying you believe it, nothing is more costly or more difficult in life than to earnestly look for the good, to "keep yourself in the love of God". (Jude)
Every time you choose to re-name and re-frame by faith, calling things that be not as though they were, not being moved by what you see, all hell will conspire against you. Please. Do not even start spouting grace until you have counted the cost. Stick with the law...it will require less of you. Law is way easier. Far from being "cheap", the truth of grace will cost you more than you ever thought you could pay, and stretch your faith beyond where you thought you could go.
If you look for good, you'll find it...even in your parents and your kid and your church.
If you look for evil, trouble will find you.
I bet you wish I made that up, but God said it, I believe it, and that settles it. What will you do with the truth of it?
While lacking the power and keen edge of God-breathed Scripture, and not understanding how "grace through faith" works, Goethe observed: “I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather...If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming."