If you are one of those people that usually “sees the glass half empty and wants to point it out to others”. Most often, people like that are called pessimists, sometimes they prefer to call themselves “realists” however, reality is not as negative as they claim it is. Calling the glass half empty is a sentence of judgment on an object that could be positive. However, some people are by nature optimistic. They see the silver lining on every cloud. Others seem to have been born with a negative disposition and see no need to change it since “that’s just the way I am.” But, even if pessimism is just the way we are, should we remain that way? Being overly critical is discernment gone wrong, turning judgment into condemnation. Marshall Keeble said, “Christians are fruit inspectors”, not fruit judges. In other words, we have the goal of finding what is good, Philippians 4:8.
The opposite of pessimism is hope and the Bible is a book of hope, Psa. 119:105, Prv. 6:23. The Lord is the God of all hope, Rom. 15:13. From Genesis to Revelation, God weaves His theme of hope into the story of man’s sin and sin’s consequences. While many events recorded in the Bible seemed gloomy and hopeless at the time, God always offered a way to be restored, Deut. 30:1-2 & Zech. 1:3.
Christians should view our pessimism as a negative trait to overcome. When we are walking with, living in, and bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit, He brings with Him love, joy, peace, and an ability to strengthen our faith, Gal. 5:22. Love “always hopes”, 1st Cor. 13:7. We should learn to listen to our own words, which can become negative by habit. When we are intentional about speaking the truth in love while responding to our situations, our pessimism can change into optimism. Also, praying in the Holy Spirit can build our faith up, to overcome negative thoughts that can fill our mind, if we let the world reside in us.
We were doomed by our sin to an eternity without God, and we have no way to save ourselves, Rom. 3:23 & 6:23. In that condition, we had a right to be pessimistic. “Life is hard, then you die” is an accurate statement for those refusing God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life. But, for the Christian, the saying can be modified: “Life is hard, but Jesus is with me. And when I die, heaven is ours!” Jesus told His followers, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” John 16:33. Because His victories are our victories, the knowledge that Christ has overcome the world should turn pessimists into optimists, Romans 8:37.
If we do not tackle pessimism, then our heart will grow hard, and hamper the fruit of the Spirit from growing to maturity. Tribulations in this world are real, remember the parable of Jesus and refuse to let the rocks stunt your growth! Matthew 13:20-21
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