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01 Dec '12

Are you a purveyor of hope or pessimism?

Posted by T.J. Addington in hope, pessimism
I meet many Christ followers who live with and communicate pessimism about life, current events and their own situations. I meet others who leave you encouraged, filled with hope and energized. Frankly I like to be around the second set a whole lot more than the first set. But it raises a question for me relative to our world view.

Think about the meaning of the gospel. It means good news. Think about the descriptions that Jesus uses regarding Him, that good news and our lives in the gospels. I take these words and phrases straight from the gospels: eternal life; life; he who comes to me will never be hungry or thirsty; living water; freedom; I am the way the truth and the life; you will bear much fruit; that your joy may be complete; peace I give to you; forgiveness; I am the bread of life; neither to I condemn you; I go to prepare a place for you.

If all that is true, how can we be purveyors of pessimism or live with it? Is it not a denial of all that God has done for us? It is like we are saying to God, "you didn't do enough," or "I don't appreciate what you have done for me." I wonder what God thinks when He hears His children, saved by His Son's blood, forgiven at great cost, given freedom and hope live with complaints and pessimism? Jesus and pessimism are frankly incompatible.

Our very salvation should move us from an attitude of pessimism to one of hope - no matter who we are or what our situation is. Changed hearts should lead to changed attitudes. From a life of complaint to a life of thanksgiving. 

What is the antidote to pessimism? Scripture is very clear: thanksgiving to God for all of His gifts. How often does Paul tell us to give thanks for all of His blessings? Reading a Psalm every day is also helpful. They overflow with the blessings of God - even in the midst of the deepest valleys (Psalm 23) which is why we turn to them in times of trouble. Memorize the promises of God. What gets put in our heads comes back to inform our thinking and attitudes.

This is all about a world view. While most of the world has reason to be pessimistic no Christ follower does. We are sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords whose hand upholds the universe, who is our king, redeemer, lord, savior, rock, rescuer, help in times of trouble and all the other descriptions we find in Scripture. With all that I want to live with hope and be a purveyor of hope to all those around me. And you?