I recently started re-reading The Power of Positive Thinking, which should be on everyone’s must read. In the foreword of the 2008 edition Pastor Robert Schuller shares a story from 1957 when he introduced its author, Norman Vincent Peale, a guest speaker to his congregation.
Dr. Schuller relates the following story:
It was time to introduce our guest. Before I knew what I was saying, I heard the following words come out of my mouth. “We have with us today the greatest positive thinker who has ever lived. His words have been heard and read by millions of people all over the world. He has changed more lives than can be counted. The greatest positive thinker who ever lived is here—with us—today!. In person! His name is … Jesus Christ! and here to tell us all about him is Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.’”
Dr. Peale was surprised, I could see.
With his arms moving in sync, Dr. Peale boomed out, “If Jesus Christ were here today, would He tell you what a lost sinner you are?”
I nodded my head.
He continued, “Would He tell you how bad you are, how you’ve failed?”
Again I nodded in agreement.
Then he shocked me by shouting, “I don’t think so! Deep down in your heart you already know that: you already know just what your most grievous sins are!”
Then he peered out across this great multitude, make the most of a dramatic pause. “Jesus Christ never told anyone he was a sinner.”
After Dr. Peale’s sermon Dr. Schuller rushed home and grabbed his Bible looking to prove that this statement was incorrect. However he states:
I found that Dr. Peale had been right! What I didn’t find was a single place where Jesus had called any person a sinner!
As I reread the words of Jesus, I discovered that He focused not on people’s weaknesses but on their strengths, not on their short-comings but on their possibilities, not on their failures but on their successes!
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we emulated that example. If you haven’t read Dr. Peale’s book I would encourage you do so. You’ll find it inspiring and especially appropriate for the world in which we live today.