Optimistic and Positive


James 1:2-3

A woman went to the psychiatrist and poured out all her problems. The doctor said nothing — just nodded and grunted throughout the session. By the end of the hour, the woman was a bit irritated at his lack of input, so she said to him, “Well, Doctor, what’s your opinion about my case? What do you think?” The psychiatrist gathered himself together and said, “Well to be truthful I think you’re crazy!” The woman was aghast at his impertinence. She retorted, “Well, I think I’d like a second opinion.” So the doctor said — “O.K. If you want a second opinion — I also think you’re ugly!”

Bad attitudes have almost become a way of life in our society. The story of Elijah sitting under the juniper tree and pouting because he had been chased out of town by a ticked-off Jezebel is a study in bad attitudes. He’d had it. Rejection is a powerful theme in our lives. Isaiah 53 speaks of the suffering servant as the one who was despised and rejected by men.

Barbara Brown Taylor calls a “bad attitude” arthritis of the spirit. The problem with a bad attitude is that it doesn’t allow us the power to see the real world. A pastor was visiting one of his parishioners, and as they were talking the conversation began to lag. The lady of the house, wanting to pick up the conversation, pointed out her window to her neighbor’s back yard where the wash was hanging on the line. She said: “See that lady next door and the wash she hangs out, see how dirty it is, she never hangs out a clean wash.”
The pastor felt somewhat uncomfortable and tried to change the subject and quickly drew the visit to a close. As he was departing, the lady of the house walked out on the front porch with him and again the wash next door was clearly visible to them. They both realized at the same time that this wash was sparkling white, just as white as any wash could ever be. The truth began to dawn on them that it was not the neighbor’s wash which was dirty, rather it was the window through which they viewed the wash.

Victor Frankle during his stay in a German prison camp discovered a real truth – we have the freedom to chose our own attitude! How are we going to respond? Those who responded to all the harshness with negative feelings didn’t live as long in the camp. Those who responded with a positive attitude lived the longest. The Apostle Paul writes, (Rom 12:2) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.
“It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Having an optimistic and positive attitude seems to strengthen our faith.
James is leading the Church at a time when it is very difficult to be a Christian. The Church is poor and all of Jerusalem is struggling. But James writes, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?
Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. We misunderstand the reason Jesus says this, it is not for the benefit of the one being forgiven, but for the one forgiving. I am reminded of the young girl killed in a robbery of Mr Goodcents. When the killer was arrested and known to the community, her parents, “Forgave the man.” The benefit wasn’t the killers, but the freedom of the parents. It was a very Christian thing to do. The freedom to choose our response!

Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it [demon] out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Prov 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Prov 15:13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast. Prov 15:30 A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. Never under estimate the power of an optimistic and positive spirit!

Research has proven that prayer mixed with medicine has better results.
Elderly people with pets live longer then ones that do not. The more happy the marriage, the better the quality of life people live. All directly related to having an optimistic spirit and a positive attitude. I went to the doctor one time for a serious sinus infection. He gave me an antibiotic as we would expect. But he also gave me a steroid that he said would boost the benefits of the antibiotic and make it work faster. An optimistic life and a positive attitude boost the benefits of our faith.

In the early 1800’s the custodian of a large cathedral in Europe saw a man come in just before he locked the doors. The custodian told him that he was about to close the cathedral and needed to leave. The man said that he had traveled a long way and just wanted to see the organ. When the custodian showed him the organ he asked to sit at the console of the great organ. “No,” the custodian said, “I could get in trouble with the organist.” But he let him. Then he asked to play the organ. Finally, the custodian relented and let him play. It was the most beautiful music the custodian had ever heard. “Who are you?” the custodian asked. “Felix Mendelssohn,” said the man. The custodian thought to himself, “I almost didn’t let the master play my organ.”

How many times have we not almost allowed the master to play in our lives because of our bad attitudes?

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