Science, Relationships, and Spirituality: 5-1 Rule

On Sunday we looked at what’s called the 5-1 Rule. How our brains are wired for negativity, and we need at least 5 positive interactions to cancel out 1 negative interaction. The interesting thing is that’s actually what we see in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

Prior to Paul giving some pretty specific instructions in chapters 4, 5, and 6 (don’t steal, treat your spouse well, etc) Paul affirms the good in the Ephesians first. Paul begins building them up and reminding them who they are, before turning to what they need to do differently.

And that one difference, can make all the difference.

We tend to jump to the negative, but that’s not the example of Paul in Ephesians. Paul starts with the good in people, not the bad. Paul reminds them of who they are before telling them what to do. Paul in essence follows the 5-1 ratio or rule. He certainly addresses concerns, but not before affirming and caring for who they are.

And I think that one little insight can help so many of our relationships.

What if before nagging – we stopped to do some caring? What if before confronting – we did some affirming? What if before judging – we actually did some loving?

I think if we focused on following Paul in this, not only would our lives be different, but our relationships healthier, whole, and better.

Big Idea: Practice the 5-1 Rule

Teaching Notes:

  • Every relationship has expectation gaps
  • Before bringing up the negative, Paul shares the positive.
  • Paul starts with the good in people, not the bad
  • Before Paul tells them what to do, he tells them who they are.
  • Science has taught us what is called “The Brain’s Negativity Bias
  • The mind is like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive ones.” Rick Hanson
  • affirm the good, before bringing up the bad

Questions for Discussion:

What was funny or new? How did God speak to you through the sermon? Have you ever thought about an idea like the 5-1 rule before? Are you prone to start with good or bad? How can you put this rule into practice this week?

Questions for Young Families:

Rather than talking about the today, show it. Do something for your kids to affirm their goodness.

Challenge for the Week:

Practice the 5-1 Rule.

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