Saturday, December 27, 2014

Optimist-Christian Attitudes #1: Half Full or Half Empty?

If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation,
you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude,
a feeling that nurtures the soul” (Rabbi Harold Kushner)

Is the glass half full or half empty? This is just one of the most common of the many metaphors used to contrast optimism with pessimism. It is also said that an optimist sees daylight at the end of a tunnel, whereas a pessimist sees the headlights of an oncoming train. Optimists believe that every cloud has a silver lining, while pessimists just see the potential for rain. Optimists see the doughnut, pessimists see the hole.

Keeping your glass half full is a matter of what you pay attention to. If you focus on the positive aspects of a situation, this does not mean you are denying the negative, it’s simply that you are making a conscious decision to seek God’s guidance rather than evil’s plan; encouragement rather than discouragement.

One way to focus on the half-full part of the glass is to express gratitude for what you have or what you have experienced, what God gives to you and what God had done for you. I know, it is not always easy to recognize the things in our lives for which we should be thankful, particularly when we are unhappy, it can be annoying to be told to cheer up and be grateful that we have home, family, health, and so on. However, this is precisely what God wants us to do and what we should do. People who show their appreciation are those who are enthusiastic, energetic, faithful, and optimistic, and they experience less stress and depression. They are free to love God and others because they appreciate life the most.

There is no doubt that when the going is tough it is more difficult to be grateful than when things are going well. However, it is during the hard times that we need gratitude the most. Like my previous post, true Christians will surely be rejected and persecuted – either spiritually or physical or mentally – but they are also optimist about the future for “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) and “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you… For great reward awaits you in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12).

Yes, optimist Christians see the glass half full.
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