Goodnesss Gone on a Tangent
The problem with being compassionate is you can go off to wrong
extremes like gushy sentimentalism, undiscerning empathy, or
taking up offenses on the behalf of others.
This is true for all good character traits. If we lose balance,
each of the positives about us can wander off on a tangent and
become something bad.
Here's another example; the problem with being discrete is the
potential for over-cautiousness, secretiveness, timidness, and
sometimes just scaring ourselves out of doing or saying anything.
The fair-minded can be so concerned about weighing all the pros
and cons that they become indecisive and indiscriminate.
I stumbled on this while looking for positive traits in someone
that I've neglected to encourage. Maybe you knew it, and I think
I sort of did, but now this dawns on me in a new light.
If we have an irregular person in our lives, who seems to have
nothing but negative traits, try looking for that "seed of
greatness" (as Zig Ziggler calls it), in that person - a good
trait that has gone off on a tangent.
I like to think of myself as compassionate and discrete, but I
have to admit I have gone overboard and been downright gushy,
and sometimes given disproportionate attention for the wrong
things. Or, I've been wrongly discrete by becoming secretive and
timid and not even saying a few appropriate words. So I have to
agree that this principle holds water.
But now is it really possible to look at someone who is
exhibiting a wrong behaviour and thinking, "I know that person
has a seed for [your example], so I will recognize and respond
to that, and hope to bring him back on track." Assuming, of
course, that as we dwell on their positive trait, it will be
nurtured and grow stronger, and thus change that person.
Wouldn't that be first class intentional friendship?! Are you
willing to experiment with this? Let me know your results. We
may have material for a good book.