In the New International Version it reads: Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.
In the King's James' Version it reads: He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.
In the Good News version, which is really a paraphrase rather than a translation, it reads
If your goals are good, you will be respected, but if you are looking for trouble, that is what you will get.
So this is interesting for several reasons:
(1) It highlights the difference between translations and paraphrases. While paraphrases are interesting and can be helpful it is important to look deeper as we grow in faith so that we are not misled by someone else's more narrow idea of what a particular passage may mean. In this instance the person who paraphrased the statement "Anyone can find the dirt in someone. Be the one that finds the gold." is interpreting the verse from a very different perspective than the authors of the Good News version.
(2) How do I know what is right if there are so many interpretations? This is the work of the Spirit of God who guides, instructs and enlightens us as we study the Bible. In this age one of the great blessings is that it is very easy to compare translations on the internet. Also, checking with a pastor or mature Christian friend may provide a historic framework to help interpret and many ministers and pastors are either able to read in the original Greek or Hebrew or have resources to help examine the oldest manuscripts.
(3) It is never a good idea to take a single Bible verse and try to build your faith around it. Engaging in various types of Bible study such as church groups, carefully considered electronic resources, books by reputable authors and fellowship with other Christians all help us be wise and discerning as we seek to grow in faith and understanding.
(4) Many Christians experience a specific blessing when reading the Bible that, while it is possible to happen with any intelligently written material, it is very profound and interesting to us. I have read a Bible passage that seemed to make a very strong impression on me, providing enlightenment or comfort or joy so that the verse is remembered as having been important to my growth and understanding. But some years later when I went to that same verse to experience that again, it simply dose not speak to me in the same way. It is still a very nice verse and the words are good words, but the special connection is just not there. For me it is as if the Spirit of God allows me to connect to a passage as needed at that time and then, as I continue to grow in faith, other verses become special for a time. I always have a sense of gratitude for the passages, but either they provide a different perspective or a warm memory of when God provided a special blessing. That may sound odd if you have not experienced it, but it happens fairly often.
So about this paraphrase of this verse; Is it reasonable to get "Anyone can find the dirt in someone. Be the one that finds the gold." from this passage? Personally I find this paraphrase consistent with the older translations although not the traditional perspective. I also find the paraphrase consistent with other teachings of Christ in regard to seeing folks through the Father's view, each of us a wholly loved son or daughter of the King of Kings rather than looking for the smallest speck of flaw in another. (See also Matthew 7:3-5 and Luke 6:42) We call that interpreting scripture in light of scripture, meaning, asking ourselves: Is this consistent with the overall teachings of Christ?
At the very least it is worth a discussion and further study...which is the joy of the Bible. It always calls us to uncover new depths of love, understanding and service with each interaction we have with it!
If you haven't been looking through the Bible recently, pick one up today!